Rick Reilly is one of the best-known national sports columnists in the world so when he writes, people will read it. Unfortunately, as is with his latest column discussing NBA players taking their talents to Turkey, sometimes he comes off as a bit off-base while writing about things he can't possibly have a handle on.
In a column posted Tuesday evening, Reilly posted some pretty random comments from even more random players discussing their basketball experiences in Turkey in an effort to make Deron Williams, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard and Dwyane Wade think twice about finding a job that will allow them to be paid to play basketball during the NBA lockout.
Reilly interviewed former Syracuse sharpshooter Eric Devendorf, Rhode Island's Jimmy Baron and UCLA's Josh Shipp about their experiences playing in Turkey and, as one might expect, the ESPN journalist was able to conjure up the most anti-Turkey comments available in hopes of keeping NBA players right where they are -- in America, where they'll have to accept a poor deal from the NBA's owners if they want to be granted admittance into an NBA gym anytime soon.
"They take it almost as seriously as soccer," says Eric Devendorf (Syracuse), who played for two months in Turkey and then bolted. "At one of our games, the fans came on the floor and tried to fight us! It's a whole different world over there. Women wearing burkas. People dropping in the street to pray all the time. It's just different. And the cities are real dirty. Man, if you don't have Slingbox you got nothing. I'm never going back. No way."
Keep in mind that Devendorf was playing in a lower division than any of the aforementioned players -- and that he isn't exactly an upstanding citizen himself -- but that quote basically reads as though Reilly asked him to say the most random things about Turkey he could think of at the time: Women wear burkas! People pray in the streets! The streets are dirty! They take basketball serious!
The point where it really gets laughable, though, is this Reilly excerpt.
Hey, Kevin Durant, Dwight Howard and Dwyane Wade, maybe you want to re-think this idea of playing in a country that's bordered by Iraq, Iran and Syria?
And apparently that's why NBA players shouldn't seek decent paying jobs in Europe: The countries they border are traditionally war-torn, women wear burkas and Eric Devendorf hated it because he couldn't watch American television without a Slingbox while seeing women dress in their culture's traditional clothing.
Now I hope everyone goes to play in Turkey, just out of spite.