Bulls center Omer Asik, a rookie from Turkey, was hanging around fellow countryman Hedo Turkoglu before the tip-off of the Bulls-Suns game last Wednesday. Both players were a part of a Turkish National Team that gave Team USA everything it could handle in the gold medal game of the 2010 FIBA World Championships.
Ironically, this meeting occurred a day before “Turkey Day,” which could mean that someone in scheduling at the league office may have pretty decent sense of humor. Or the Thanksgiving Eve clash could’ve been pure coincidence.
Unlike the United States, Turkey doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving. There isn’t a Plymouth Rock in Istanbul, or any record of the Mayflower landing there.
However, the Turks do celebrate a similar holiday. It is called Şeker Bayramı (Holiday of Sweets) or Ramazan Bayramı (Ramadan Holiday).
Many in Turkey, which is a predominantly Muslim country, fast during the month of Ramadan in religious observance. Once Ramadan is concluded, Muslims worldwide celebrate a three-day feast that is a cross between Thanksgiving and Christmas.
However, in Turkey, it’s more of a cross between Thanksgiving and Halloween. Children reportedly go door-to-door wishing everyone a happy holiday in exchange for treats.
The month of Ramadan, which can fall during the NBA season, is not always a treat for Turkoglu. During that specific month, the Suns forward is only allowed to eat before sunrise and after sunset.
The rest of the day he has to fast.
“I try to do it but sometimes it’s hard because you travel and it effects you for the game,” Turkoglu said. “I try to always do it on my days off because it’s not as hard as the period of the games.”
Maybe an experiment should be conducted. What is more detrimental to one’s basketball game: fasting or overeating on Thanksgiving?
The jury is still out on that one.