Exclusive and entertaining interview with Anadolu Efes star Alex Kirk
As a kid, did you have any other profession in mind besides becoming a basketball player?
Alex Kirk: I had an athlete’s body since I was a little kid and this led me to start playing baseball, basketball and soccer at a young age. I haven’t certainly known that I was going to become a pro basketball player. However, I always knew that if worked hard, someday I was going to become a professional athlete. I worked very hard to achieve my goal.
You had the chance of playing with great players in Cleveland Cavaliers such as Lebron, Kyrie and Love. How was it like playing with them? Did you have any special moments or had an unforgettable experience during your time at Cleveland?
Alex Kirk: I don’t have a special memory. They were extremely good guys. I was together with them for 5 or 6 months and they were respectful to me and I was respectful to them. They took care of me. I played against Kyrie and Tristan Thompson in high school. A player like me coming from New Mexico as a smalltime basketball player and The King of basketball knows my name it is very special for me.
Also during your experience in Cleveland, head coach was also David Blatt who is currently coaching Daçka. Whats your opinion about him?
Alex Kirk: Coach Blatt watched me before we have met and after we came together in summer league with him. I did not get many minutes as a player but spend time during training sessions. He is really a good man and has a good personality. I believe he has a very high level of basketball knowledge. He spends most of his time working and he always tries to make us better.
Playing in China nowadays is a common debate. A lot of players choose to go there as a result of better contracts. You also had a short spell in China? What was the experience like. Did it have any positive or negative effects on you?
Alex Kirk: Chinese league is currently under development. It is a little different than Europe and NBA. They have talented players because teams are spending a lot of money to bring in good players. They transfer many popular players from Europe and America. It can be said that Chinese league is rich in offence. Most teams choose attacking mind in every game. It makes matches more attractive for the basketball lovers. I think the league has become a good and entertaining mix of Asian, European and American basketball players.
Your coach Mr. Perasovic seems like a very tough guy with very strict rules from the outside. Is he really like that? How is his attitude towards the players? Is he seeking things from you that your past coaches did not ask?
Alex Kirk: He is a very good coach, he takes care all of us individually. As you know, we are under difficult conditions such as playing in the Euroleague and Turkish league at the same time. He tries to make us ready and motivates us for every match. As players, we try to do what he wants and show him a positive response in the matches.
It is going to be a cliche question to ask but what would you say is the main difference between NBA and Euroleague? Do you think that European basketball will one day reach to NBA’s potential?
Alex Kirk: They are totally different, even some of the rules are different. For me Euroleague is depending on more struggle and defensive plays. In NBA, individual performances and player talents are definitely better than Eurolague. Both of the leagues have their advantages and disadvantages.
Your contract with Anadolu Efes is to expire by the end of the season. Any chance you are looking forward to stay in Turkey? Do you have any career plans for now or will you wait and see? May be NBA is a choice?
Alex Kirk: I am living a wonderful experience in Efes. Basketball is being played at the highest level. If they will make a request for me to stay at the end of the season, my answer is ready from now. I am still young and I want to complete my progress. I don’t want to be sitting on the bench cause I need to continue playing. That’s why I’m not turning NBA at the moment.
We can say that Anadolu Efes is on a hot streak right now although the Turkish Cup final was lost to Banvit. You won 4 of your last 5 games, and your win against Baskonia gave you an important advantage to clinch a play-off spot. We can say that Anadolu Efes has had a lot of progress during the last 2 months. What can you say about the team’s current form? What is the team’s objective for the Euroleague? Can we say that sky is the limit?
Alex Kirk: Our current objective as a team is to clinch a Play-off spot. However, we want to think about each match individually and try to get maximum wins as possible. It is a great experience for me to play for Anadolu Efes and it will be perfect to qualify for the Play-offs. It will be a first time experience for me in the Euroleague and it is exciting. Our objective after the Play-offs is of course to go to the Final Four.
During the Turkish Cup matches, you had visited Anıtkabir with the whole team. How was the experience?
Alex Kirk: I didn’t have much opinion about Mustafa Kemal Atatürk before I came to Turkey but since my arrival I have been reading and learning about him. I have learnt that he was a man of vision and a great leader to his nation. Our team visit to Anıtkabir thought me new things. I will continue reading and learning about him.
Kramponlu Pisagor holds on to the rights of the interview conducted and the interview can not be used without showing Kramponlu Pisagor as the source.