Yesterday, Turkish born basketball star, Hedo Turkoglu officially announced his retirement from the game after a fifteen year career in the NBA.

The 36 year old entered the NBA after being drafted sixteenth overall by the Sacramento Kings in 2000.  Prior to the NBA, he played for Efes Pilsen in the Turkish League and helped the squad reach the Euroleague Final Four in 2000.  Turkoglu would make history by becoming the first Turkish born player to play in the NBA.

With the Kings, Turkoglu was used coming off of the bench and following a three team trade to San Antonio he had the opportunity to gain more playing time, but it was with the Orlando Magic, the team he signed with as a free agent following his fourth year in the NBA, which was where he really blossomed.   

In Orlando, Turkoglu would become the full time starting Small Forward in his second season there and in the 2007-08 season he would be named the NBA’s Most Improved Player after posting what would be his career high in Points per Game (19.5), Rebounds per Game (5.7) and PER (17.3).  The following season, he helped his team reach the NBA Finals, although the Los Angeles Lakers soundly defeated them.

Turkoglu would later play for the Toronto Raptors, Phoenix Suns, have a second stint with the Orlando and would finish his career with the Los Angeles Clippers. 

Internationally, Turkoglu helped Turkey win the Silver Medal in the 2001 European Championship and the Silver Medal in the 2010 FIBA World Championship, which was held in Turkey.

On December 18, the Magic will honor Turkoglu in a special ceremony.

The question we here at always ask after a retirement is, is that respective player a Hall of Famer, and honestly he isn’t. 

With a career PER under 15 and his overall statistical line as a professional doesn’t put him in the conversation.  Although the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame recognizes International accomplishments, it isn’t likely that what he did for the Turkish National Team is enough to move the needle that much.

Still, this was a very good career and one that put Turkish basketball on the map and we here at would like to congratulate Hedo Turkoglu for finishing what has been a fine career, and we wish him the best in the next stage of his life.

As we (slowly) continue our way to the Top 50 of each franchise, the next step will be to look at how each team celebrates their former players/executives.

As such it is news to us that the Orlando Magic has announced that former star, Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway will become the fifth member of their organization’s Hall of Fame.

In 1993, Hardaway was drafted with the 3rd overall pick by Golden State but was subsequently traded to Orlando with other first round picks for the rights to #1 overall pick Chris Webber.  Joining Shaquille O’Neal, Hardaway took the Magic to 50 wins, and finished 2nd in Rookie of the Year voting behind Webber. 

The next two seasons were arguably the best of Penny’s career and that of the Orlando Magic.  Hardaway and O’Neal anchored the Magic to their first ever NBA Finals and the team would have 57 and 60 Wins respectively.  Penny was an All Star in both of those seasons and was named a First Team All-NBA Selection and averaged over 20 Points and 7 Assists per Game.

While Hardaway would be named an All Star for the next two seasons, the fortunes of the Orlando Magic had changed.  Shaq would sign a deal with the Los Angeles Lakers and Penny had to carry the offensive load.  He still had a 20 Point per Game season in 1996-97 and earned Third Team All NBA honors but a severe knee injury took him out of most of the 1997-98 campaign.

He would return for one more season (his sixth) but he was no longer the same player and he would be traded to the Phoenix Suns prior to the 1999-2000 season.

Overall, as a member of the Orlando Magic, Penny Hardaway played 365 Games averaging 19.0 Points, 6.3 Assists, 4.6 Rebounds and 1.9 Steals per Game.

Hardaway joins Co-Founder Pat Williams, Nick Anderson (the first player drafted by the team and current Community Ambassador), Shaquille O’Neal and Senior Chairman, Rich DeVos.

The ceremony will take place on January 20, on their home game against the Milwaukee Bucks.

We here at would like to congratulate Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway for earning this honor.
Dwight Howard, the Atlanta Hawks’ Center was asked recently by ESPN as to whether he is a Basketball Hall of Famer.  He was pretty confident in his answer:

“No doubt. It’s kind of got swept under the rug because the perception of all the things that happened in Orlando. All of the media stuff. If you look at basketball itself, and I don’t ever talk about myself, but winning three Defensive Player of the Year trophies has never been done. Leading the league in rebounding six straight years. All that kind of stuff, I think that deserves it.”

Howard isn’t wrong.  Based on who is already in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, the big man should be able to get in.  This isn’t a knock against Howard, but the bar is a little lower for Springfield than it is for Cooperstown. 

Howard’s star has certainly fallen since the wishy-washy way he left Orlando and his ineffective runs in both Los Angeles and Houston.  He is certainly not the player he once was, but at one point Howard was without question the dominant Center in the NBA and was named to First Team All-NBA Selection five times.  That alone makes him a Hall of Famer whether he wins a ring or not…which he still has time to do!

As most of the regular visitors to are aware we are (very) slowly putting together our top 50 players of every franchise in the “Big 4” of North American sports. After that is completed we will take a look at how each organization honors their past players and executives.

As such, it is important to us that the Orlando Magic has announced that Tracy McGrady will be inducted into their franchise’s Hall of Fame.

After playing his first three seasons in Toronto McGrady signed with Orlando and would become the teams starting Shooting Guard and would be named an All Star in all four of his campaigns with the Magic. T-Mac would average 28.1 Points per Game over his career in Orlando, the highest in team history and he would also win his two scoring titles as a member of the Magic. He was also named All-NBA in each season with Orlando, with a pair of second team and a pair of first team selections.

He will be honored on March 20 when the team hosts the Raptors.

McGrady becomes the seventh member of the Hall, following Owner Rich DeVos, Co-Founders Pat Williams and Jimmy Hewitt and former players Nick Anderson, Shaquille O’Neal and Anfernee Hardaway.

We here at would like to congratulate Tracy McGrady for obtaining this honor.

24. Penny Hardaway

His career statistics may not reflect a Hall of Fame resume, but in the late 90’s, one of the most dynamic and marketable professional Basketball players in the world was an unusually tall Point Guard named Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway. Penny was a two time First Team NBA Selection and was the running mate of Shaquille O’Neal who collectively took the Orlando Magic to relevance and was part of Dream Team II. Unfortunately, Hardaway succumbed to injuries early in his career, and a serious one to his knee in 1997 took away his superstar status on the court, and he struggled to be average for the rest of his career. Still, his overall popularity cannot be ignored, and Penny Hardaway might very well be a first ballot inductee to the Hall of what could have been.

32. Horace Grant

Horace Grant was not a stat accumulator; he was a winner.  After a stellar career at Clemson University where he was named ACC MVP, Grant was selected as the tenth pick of the 1987 draft.  Grant was a key member of the first three title runs the Bulls had in the early 90's.  He was the 3rd option on offense but was really their main low post defender.  A very athletic power forward that could bang with the big guys and run with smaller guys, Grant would become the prototype that others would follow. 

74. Steve Francis

Despite having the nickname of “Stevie Franchise”, Steve Francis never led his team in College or the Pros to a Championship. It was not that he wasn’t good, as the Point Guard was a three time All-Star who put up decent statistics through his tenure, but he was more known for showcasing his athletics dunks and speed, than his overall game. He was a good scorer, but a little too turnover prone and for a Point Guard, did not always have high assists numbers. Still, he deserves better than to be known as a bad contact in New York, as this man was a former NBA Rookie of the Year.