BY DAVID THORPE
Mike Fratello got to Turkey first, spending two weeks alone putting on camps. Jack McKinney—legendary Lakers coach—loved his annual visit to the lovely shores of the Bosphorus Straits (or wherever coaching clinics took him), where we sat eating stuffed grape leaves one summer day in 1996.
We were in Tarabya, Turkey, a short drive to Istanbul. It was my first trip overseas to help teach another nation’s young coaches and players.
I was in charge of our 10-day camp. Turkey’s men’s team, to that point, had never qualified for the Olympic Games, nor had any of its players made an NBA team. Its basketball federation partnered with Five-Star basketball camps to help Turkey’s team and players reach new levels of success.
I sat eating with the men I would be working with, just getting to know them and their stories as pro and college coaches. The decor and the music had me feeling like I was living in a 1970’s James Bond movie (From Russia With Love was partially filmed in Istanbu…