Alec Peters: The government wanted to keep us playing but the Federation was ready to shut down

2020-03-27T23:07:19+00:00 2020-03-28T03:44:08+00:00.

Antonis Stroggylakis

27/Mar/20 23:07

The Turkish BSL League was the last European championship to halt all action.

By Antonis Stroggylakis/

Anadolu Efes forward Alec Peters talked about the Turkish BSL League being the last basketball championship in Europe that was either temporarily suspended or completely canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We went a week longer than everyone else in terms of playing. We were still playing in front of no fans. That was very weird. That you are the only league… we made jokes that ESPN should come and put us on because we are the only basketball team in the world right now still playing. That was different,” Peters said to the Full 94 Podcast by Mike LaTulip.

BSL, along with all competitions in Turkey, was officially postponed (as of now for an indefinite period of time) on March 19, after a meeting between Turkish Minister of Youth and Sports Mehmet Kasapoglu and the presidents of the soccer, basketball, volleyball federations.

Peters’ Efes had faced Bursaspor behind closed doors two days before, on March 17. It was the last match that was played before the postponement of every league in the country.

“The way it worked is that the Turkish government has kind of the final say on everything,” Peters mentioned. “The government is. It’s not like the NBA where you have a commissioner, you have Adam Silver. Obviously, you have laws and stuff. The Turkish government has a minister of Sports who oversees the basketball federation. So they have to answer to him about everything. That was kind of an interesting position to be put in. Knowing that the government wanted to keep us playing but the basketball Federation was ready to shut down when everybody else was.”

Before the BSL was suspended, prominent league players like Efes star guard Shane Larkin and Fenerbahce Beko veteran Bobby Dixon openly asked that the league should be put on hold. Fenerbahce coach Zeljko Obradovic commented that “it’s difficult to talk about basketball,” following a win of his team over Tofas Bursa in an empty arena, something later echoed by Efes coach Ergin Ataman.

The players of Galatasaray had also released a joint statement pleading for “caution” and describing the whole situation as “bizarre.”

“It was a kind of weird situation to be put in. After that, they finally decided to postpone the season,” Peters said. “And I think a week later everybody knew that this is going to be a longer process than they thought and so they started to give foreign guys permission to go back to their countries. And now I’m back home for the time being.”