It’s the offseason for the Philadelphia 76ers but for one particular player, competitive basketball has already begun as the 2022 EuroBasket tournament is here. Longtime wing Furkan Korkmaz has found himself in the news for reasons other than his stellar play for his native Turkey.
While in the midst of the 2022 EuroBasket tournament, Korkmaz’s Sunday went anything but planned against the Group A host team of Georgia. In an incident that snowballed out of control before anyone could truly realize what had taken place, Korkmaz had found himself ejected, and then shortly after, attacked.
According to Korkmaz, after being ejected from the EuroBasket match between Turkey and Georgia, he and the team’s conditioning coach, who was escorting him, were attacked by players and security supporting the opposing team.
Furkan Korkmaz would later recall the altercation:
“When I was talking to the tunnel, our conditioning guy was with me. As soon as we walked out of the tunnel and were trying to reach the locker room, I saw three Georgian players alongside two security guys running at us. We started throwing punches at each other. That’s basically what happened,” Korkmaz said.
“It was like a street fight. There was no talk or conversation. People just came at us and were trying to attack us. Of course, we reacted and tried to defend ourselves – exactly what we are going to do as men. I also think it’s a security problem. But I don’t know if it’s a security problem or if they just showed tolerance to their players. We understand that they’re at home, but this is unacceptable. What happens on the court is fine, but we should talk more about what happens off the court,” Korkmaz continued.Furkan Korkmaz to basketnews
The three players in question have been revealed to be Tornike Shengelia, Duda Sanadze — who was ejected alongside Korkmaz after an altercation between the two, and Indiana Pacers center Goga Bitadze.
As reporter Sergen Hasan Kumas points out, the Indiana Pacers will come to Philadelphia on October 24th. It is unlikely that this will be so quickly forgotten by Korkmaz nor by his teammates.
It’s an absolutely shocking turn of events that took place but thankfully, by all accounts, Furkan Korkmaz seems to have made it through the altercation largely unscathed. He has even since returned to practice as the team prepares to face Belgium.
That does not excuse what occurred, of course, and FIBA is expected to at least take a look at this situation and the many other oddities from Sunday’s game — and the entire Group A experience during the early portion of EuroBasket 2022 — such as 22 seconds inexplicably being removed from the clock while Korkmaz was being ejected.
FIBA representatives have already informed Turkish national team head coach Ergin Ataman that there will be a response within 24 hours of the occurrence, so it should not be long before more news comes forward regarding this situation. It should be stated that “a response” does not inherently mean one in Turkey’s favor; should that be the case, even more negative press will surround the EuroBasket tournament.
Should that be the case, Turkish Basketball Federation vice-president Omer Onan has already stated that Turkey would consider leaving EuroBasket 2022. While that was in reference to receiving required footage of the incident, it’s perceivable that a decision by FIBA to sit idly by could prove just as serious an offense to the Turkish Basketball Federation.