Deron Williams says he will miss Istanbul

Deron Williams says he will miss Istanbul

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Deron Williams says he will miss Istanbul

Deron Williams has won the hearts of Beşiktaş Milangaz fans after playing only 12 matches with the team. Apart from leading Beşiktaş to a great start of 10 wins in the process, he has set the Eurochallenge Cup record with 50 points over Göttingen. AP photo

Although he only spent three months in Istanbul, Deron Williams said it will be hard to leave the city and his teammates.

The superstar point guard is set to leave Beşiktaş Milangaz just a few months after he chose to play in Turkey during the NBA lockout. Now that team owners and the players union in the U.S. have reached an agreement, however, the new 66-game season will start on Christmas Day, meaning it is time for Williams to pack his bags.

Williams had a real impact on Beşiktaş Milangaz during those three months. First and foremost he was the main contributor to turning the team from a mere mid-table challenger to a title contender. The Black Eagles have only lost twice out of all 12 matches in which Williams played.

The athlete admitted he was used to the idea of staying in Istanbul longer.

“Three months is a long time, and I had close friendships with my teammates. I am sure I will miss them. I was thinking I would stay here until the end of the year,” he said to Turkish broadcaster NTV Spor yesterday. “Leaving them behind will be hard. I wish I could have stayed. I would like to come and play here some time again, but that doesn’t seem likely in the near future.”

Williams also sang praises for coach Ergin Ataman. “He’s been a great coach for me, he is doing his best to help the team win,” he said. “He is one of the greatest coaches in Europe and one of the best I have worked with.”

Williams also enjoyed living in Istanbul, which he cites as a main reason of choosing Beşiktaş Milangaz.

“Istanbul is a beautiful city and I loved the other [Turkish] cities I’ve travelled to as well. My wife travelled to [famous Aegean holiday spot] Bodrum and she loved it there,” he said. “The food was great as well. I loved kebabs, baklava…I loved börek, it was my favorite. It is a wonderful country and I hope to come for holiday in the future.”

Before he takes his talents back to the New Jersey Nets, Williams is set to bid one last farewell to his fans. He is scheduled to attend meeting with his fans before Beşiktaş Milangaz’s Eurochallenge match against Leiden. There will be a ceremony just before the tip-off in which his jersey will be hung from the ceiling of the Milangaz Arena.

Thanks to his commanding presence on the court, there is no doubt that Beşiktaş Milangaz fans will not forget Williams. Fans will especially remember his 50-point haul against Göttingen on Nov. 22, which was a performance for the ages. “I just want to thank them all for their support,” he said.