Over the next several months at DeronWilliams.com, we’ll be highlighting some of the greatest and most notable moments of Deron Williams’ basketball career, from high school in Dallas to the Fighting Illini of Illinois, and onto the pros, where he spent 12 years breaking ankles and hearts, at one time considered one of the best pure point guards in the National Basketball Association.
First up on the list, however, is a moment D-Will won’t soon forget, from his brief time overseas in Turkey during the 2011 NBA Lockout, playing for Beskitas of the Turkish Basketball League.
Deron relished the time he and his family got to spend in Turkey, exploring the country and culture while he kept his game sharp through the summer and into the fall.
All told, D-Will played 23 games — eight exhibitions and 15 regular season contests —with Besiktas over the span of a few months during the lockout. But his impact with the franchise and its fans was far greater. So on November 29, 2011, just days after Deron got word that the lockout was over and he was to head back to the U.S. to begin a quick training camp, with the NBA season set to begin in less than a month, Besiktas recognized him with a most special honour.
After he led the crowd in a special pre-game cheer, Deron’s No. 8 jersey rose to the rafters at Besiktas Milangaz Arena in a pre-game ceremony.
The honor came just one week after D-Will played his best game with Besiktas and one of the best of his career, scoring 50 points in a 105-94 victory over BG Göttingen.
Deron averaged 21.2 points, 6.5 rebounds, three assists and 1.2 steals per game over those 15 regular season games as Besiktas went 13-2. He led the team to a 3-0 record in the EuroChallenge, good for first place in their group, and a 6-1 record in the Turkish Basketball League, good for second place early in the season, further endearing himself to thousands of Besiktas fans who still follow him to this day.
After the game was over and Besiktas had secured another EuroLeague win, over ZZ Leiden, D-Will tweeted about the honor that Besiktas and their adoring fans gave him.
Just had a great time with the fans for the last time at Besiktas Milingaz! Arena taking the team out for dinner! I'm going to miss them…
— Deron Williams (@DeronWilliams) November 29, 2011
And while the fans were sad to see him go, they were mostly appreciative of what he gave them, as evidenced by a fan video of the ceremony.