Lynn Greer: “Being A Fenerbahce Supporter Is A Lifestyle”

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Former US basketball player Lynn Greer, who played for Fenerbahçe in the 2009-10 and 2010-11 seasons and was one of the important names of the team during that time, answered the questions of Baran Arslan and Erdi Tiran from Salon Tribunu crew about the period that he wore the yellow-navy blue jersey.

 Mr. Greer, first of all, welcome. As Salon Tribunu crew, which consists of Fenerbahce fans, we are happy to interview you. You were born October 23, 1979, in Philadelphia, USA. How was your childhood and youth years? How did you start playing basketball?

I grew up in Philadelphia, which is a basketball city. My father played basketball. He played in college, he played professionally, he was drafted in the NBA. Also, my cousin, Lamar Greer, played in college and professionally. So, I started playing basketball early, at the age of five or six, watching my father playing. That’s how I started playing the game. I grow up playing in a lot of youth leagues for the kids. I also played in the playgrounds of Philadelphia.

• After Carver High School and Temple College period, you couldn’t find what you were looking for in the 2002 NBA draft. What can you tell us about all of this process?

After Carver and Temple college I was not drafted in the NBA draft in 2002. It was a tough time for me because I expected to be drafted. I thought that I was good enough to be drafted so it was very disappointing not to have that opportunity. After going undrafted in the NBA draft in 2002, I came to Europe where my first stop was in Greece. I played for small team called Near East and I took all the frustration and disappointment that I have from the NBA draft to my career in Europe. I was fortunate to play in a lot of good organizations such as Dynamo Moscow, Olympiakos, Slask Wroclaw, Napels and in that time I was so focused always on getting to the NBA. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to sign a two-year contract with the Milwaukee Bucks.

FC Barcelona – Fenerbahce, December 3, 2009. Photo by Josep Lago.

• After this process, you came to Europe and had a successful career. You became the top scorer of Euroleague in Slask Wroclaw in the 2003-2004 season. You played for Dynamo Moscow and Napoli. After your NBA experience with Milwaukee Bucks in 2006-2007 season, you showed successful performance in Olympiacos between 2007 and 2009. What would you like to say about those years?

Each year I was able to advance and move to a higher level of basketball. Started in Greece with a small team then moved to a Euroleague team in Poland. Then Dynamo Moscow, Naples in Italy where we won the Italian Cup and I was the MVP and then to Milwaukee Bucks. These were the best years for me in becoming the best player I could be.

• In the summer of 2009, you signed with Fenerbahce, where Bogdan Tanjevic is the headcoach. Would you like to tell us about the story of your signing with Fenerbahce?

After my two years in Olympiacos I signed the contract with Fenerbahce, coached by Tanjevic. This was very exciting time for me because I knew that coach Tanjevic had a lot of history in European basketball. I knew that Fenerbahce was a good club to play for. I was really excited about the opportunity to play with this club.

Zalgiris Kaunas – Fenerbahce, November 25, 2009. Photo by Robertas Dackus.

• 2009-2010 season, which was your first year in Fenerbahce, was a year in which we completed the Turkish League as the champions even though we couldn’t make it to the Top 16 in Euroleague. What could you tell us about the whole season and the efforts of Ertuğrul Erdoğan, who coached the team at the end of the season due to Tanjevic’s health problems?

The 2009-2010 was an interesting season. We were a team that was supposed to be one of the best teams in Europe. We had really talented players and a very good coach. I think that with the amount of talent that we have in the team we could have beaten anyone. We had some injuries that prohibited us from reaching our ultimate goal and did not make it to the Top 16 by few points. I really think that this team could have been special, if we had been together and healthy. With Tanjevic having health problems coach Ertuğrul Erdoğan really stepped up. He really was a leader and commented everyone’s best effort. He led us to the Turkish league championship and the Turkish Cup. We were able to show our ability and we were really a strong team.

• We couldn’t make it to the Top 16 in the last regular season grop game we played against Zalgiris Kaunas in that season. How did you feel after Marcus Brown’s basket in that game?

The match against Zalgiris, which was our last regular season game at home, was very disappointing. First, we should have won the game. Secondly, we missed the Top 16 by a few points, which came in the final seconds by Marcus Brown. Marcus Brown was one of the Euroleague’s greats. Again disappointment for the club, disappointment for myself and I am sure for my teammates. Every time there is disappointment it gives you energy, effort and overall feeling of desparation to prove that we are better than we showed.

Fenerbahce – Cibona Zagreb, November 4, 2009. Photo by Uğraş Özyurt.

• Again in that season, we won the Turkish League final series against Efes Pilsen 4-2 and reached the victory, especially your 14-point performance in the third game is still in our minds today. What do you remember about the series against Efes Pilsen?

In the championship round against Efes Pilsen, we had a comeback in fourth game it was crucial because the game was very close. In some games I played a lot of minutes, sometimes I did not. However, I always wanted to be ready to help the team and impact the game in any way I could. I feel like the opportunity that I was given in the third game was a perfect opportunity to show who Lyn Greer was. The game went back and forth then there was an opportunity for me to show my one on one skills and everything that I knew to do at a high level and I took that opportunity.

• We started the 2010-11 season by losing the President’s Cup, said good bye to EuroLeague at the Top 16 stage, and finished the league as champions against Galatasaray. We also won the Turkish Cup. Unfortunately, you couldn’t see the end of this season, what was it like for you? In January 2011, it was announced by the club that left the team. What was the reason behind your departure from Fenerbahce?

When we entered the 2010 season losing the President’s Cup, I came into the season with high expectations. We had a few new players, who I thought could help the team. We had coach Spahija, who really was a good addition to the organization, however either the coach or the organization did not feel that I could help them any longer. So I was not a part of the team like I wanted to be. I appreciated the opportunity and was looking forward to playing, but I will love Fenerbahce forever.

Lynn Greer and Bobby Dixon, ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne – Fenerbahce, October 28, 2009. Photo by Philippe Merle

• During the two seasons you spent in Fenerbahçe, you played with names such as Damir Mršič, Willie Solomon, Emir Preldžić, Tarence Kinsey and Ömer Onan. Who was your favorite player to play with and being a teammate with?

During my time at Fenerbahce I played wit a lot of great players like Emir Preldžić, Tarence Kinsey, Ömer Onan, Damir Mršič. Mršič was one of the best shooters I have seen. Oğuz Savaş, Semih Erden, Ömer Aşık, Willie Solomon and the names go on. Even some young guys like Erbil Eroğlu, Can Maxim Mutaf. We had a very good group of players and young players. I cannot pick one person who I would say my favourite, but I feel that we all had a brotherhood that we can never forget.

• What was the most memorable game you played for Fenerbahçe and the most interesting moment you experienced off the court?

Some of my most memorable moments at Fenerbahce was playing in the Turkish league championship and finally winning that championship in the Abdi İpekçi Arena. The support of Fenerbahce fans was unbelievable. It is not an entertainment, not a basketball entertainment, being a Fenerbahce supporter is a lifestyle. It is a culture, a family. Kids grow up to be Fenerbahce supporters. Even though all of the clubs are great I do believe that Fenerbahce support is and will always be the best.

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