World, Sports

'I wanted to help somehow': Turkish NBA player

'I wanted to react quickly,' says Cleveland Cavaliers' Cedi Osman, on recent 'devastating' earthquake in eastern Turkey

Safvan Allahverdi  | 30.01.2020 - Update : 31.01.2020
'I wanted to help somehow': Turkish NBA player NBA player and Turkish international Cedi Osman speaks to press members on his campaign for quake-hit Turkish province Elazig reached around $65,000 ahead of NBA match between New Orleans Pelicans and Cleveland Cavaliers at the Rocket Mortgage in Ohio, United States on January 28, 2020. ( Yasin Ozturk - Anadolu Agency )


Turkish NBA player Cedi Osman said that his campaign raising tens of thousands of dollars to aid quake-hit eastern Turkey was a spontaneous gesture coming from concern for his countrymen.

"l wanted to react quickly after l saw the impact of the devastating earthquake on people in Elazig and Malatya," he told Anadolu Agency after a Tuesday night game between his Cleveland Cavaliers and New Orleans Pelicans.

A 6.8 magnitude quake shook Turkey's eastern Elazig province on Friday, killing at least 41 people and injuring over 1,500.

"l couldn't go to Turkey, but l wanted to help somehow. It wasn't actually a campaign. l wanted to raise awareness abroad, especially in the United States," he said.

On Saturday, Osman announced on Twitter that he would donate $200 for every three-pointer made during the game.

Donations grew once other Turkish professional athletes, including Arda Turan, Nuri Sahin, Isil Alben, and Yusuf Yazici, pledged to donate equal sums.

Osman's teammate, Larry Nance Jr., also donated, doubling the amount for every three-pointer to $200.

The Chicago Bulls won the match 118-106, with a total of 25 three-pointers during the game.

After the game, Osman announced that at least 385,000 Turkish liras (over $64,600) had been raised for earthquake victims.

On Wednesday evening, Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu took to Twitter to thank Cedi Osman for his contribution to help the earthquake victims.

"Heartfelt thanks for their warm support to @cavs and our pride @cediosman #GoCavs," he wrote, with emoticons of hands clapping plus a Turkish flag.

Kobe and daughter's death 'saddened us deeply'

Asked about his feelings after the tragic death of Kobe Bryant, one of Bryant’s daughters, and seven others in Sunday’s helicopter crash, Osman said the news left him in a state of disbelief and shock.

"His [Kobe Bryant] and his daughter's death saddened us deeply. Even though I didn’t know him personally, I was very sad.

“We were affected as a team because we have players and coaches that had played with him or coached him before. I was a really tragic event for the NBA and the world of basketball."

*Writing by Fatih Erel

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