The Turkish National Basketball Team represents Turkey in international basketball team.
They are one of the strongest teams in Europe having won second place in Eurobasket in 2001 and also the silver medal in FIBA World Championship in 2010. The national team joined FIBA in 1936 and is currently raking 6th in FIBA Europe. They also won gold medal in Mediterranean Games way back in 1987, silver in 1971, and the bronze medals in 1967, 1983, and 2009. The team is also called 12 Dev Adam meaning 12 Giant Men. They are currently coached by Orhun Ene.
The Turk’s International Success
Basketball in Turkey was first organized and headed by Ahmet Robenson. Since then, basketball became the second most favourite sport in the country. Turkish National Basketball Team’s first international match was in 1936 against Greece. Turkey was victorious with 49-12 score in favour of Turkey.
Turkish basketball is considered successful only in the late 1990s.The Efes Pilsen won the Korać Cup making them the first ever team to have won a European Cup in any sports competition. This was the beginning of the glorious days of basketball in Turkey.
In 1949, Turkey’s national team debuted in that year’s EuroBasket. They won 4th place having 3 wins and 3 losses in the tournament consisting of seven-team round robin. They did relatively well in the EuroBasket 1951 held in Paris when they only loss once over the Soviet Union during the preliminaries, one loss against Bulgaria in the semis making them win the 5-8 game, but then losing the 5/8 game against Italy.
Their Turkish team missed the 1953 EuroBasket but returned in EuroBasket 1955 held in Budapest. There, the team was ranked at 11th place in the tournament consisting of 18 participating teams. In EuroBasket in Sofia, they took the 9th place out of 16 participating teams.
The team continues to participate in EuroBasket striving their way to the top. The team, however, is succeeding in the Mediteranean Games having won the gold medal in 1987.The Turks participated in the 2006 World Championships not having their star players Hüseyin Beşok.Hidayet Türkoğlu, Mirsad Türkcan, Mehmet Okur and Kerem Tunçeri. They did surprisingly well even with the new players so they were branded as “12 Cesur Yürek” or 12 Brave Hearts.
In the year 2007, they finished at 11th place in the EuroBasket. They also placed at 8th in 2009 EuroBasket but won the bronze in 2009 Mediterranean Games.
Turkey hosted the2010 FIBA World Championship. The Turks started showing off their home advantage by defeating all other teams in their bracket such as China, Greece, Puerto Rico, and Ivory Coast.
They also defeated France and Slovenia in the knockout stage. Turkey won over Serbia in a very close fight of 83-82 in the semi-finals.
The team continued to be undefeated and finally met the United States in the finals where the Turks took the second place. Each player of the Turkish National Basketball Team was awarded 1,500,000 TL prize from their government for being the country’s pride in the said competition.