Turkish capital awaits All-Star heat

Turkish capital awaits All-Star heat

The 24 best athletes of the Turkish Basketball League (TBL) from eight different nations are set to enjoy the All-Star game festivities in Ankara that kick off on Jan. 18.

Players competing for TBL clubs based in Europe will take on representatives of the league’s Asian-based clubs.

Fans of the TBL from around the world were able to select their favorite players beginning on Dec. 24, 2014, and more than 400,000 votes were cast.

“Every year the brightest stars of the TBL come together for the All-Star game, and this year promises to be the most exciting edition to date,” TBL Director Samer Şenbayrak said at an Istanbul meeting earlier this week.

“Our goal this Sunday is to give the world’s best fans an unforgettable basketball experience courtesy of some of the world’s most talented players,” he said. 

All-Star Ankara 2015 kicks off at 2 p.m. at the Ankara Arena with the three-point shooting competition and the slam dunk contest. Those competitions will feature some of the TBL’s best sharpshooters and high-flyers, including Carlos Arroyo (Galatasaray Liv Hospital), Andrew Goudelock (Fenerbahçe Ülker), Furkan Korkmaz (Anadolu Efes) and Chinemenu Elonu (Tofaş). The main event will follow, and Turkish pop star Murat Dalkılıç will perform at halftime.

“This is probably the best league in Europe at the moment, and the bar is rising every year,” said Darüşşafaka’s Reinaldas Seibutis, who will also participate in the shooting competition. “It’s a big honor to be selected for the All-Star game.”

After 15 games of TBL action, Anadolu Efes sits atop the leaderboard with 11 wins, but Darüşşafaka Doğuş and Fenerbahçe Ülker have the same number of wins. Only four points separate first-place Anadolu Efes and eighth place Trabzonspor Medical Park, which would secure the final playoff spot if the season ended today. The TBL’s second half gets underway on Jan. 24.