For the third straight year, a group from the Jordan Brand Classic is travelling Internationally -- this time to Istanbul, Turkey -- for a two-day training camp with 40 of the top prospects in Europe from March 3-8. Ten players will be selected as the Most Valuable Players from the camp and they will travel to the United States in April, along with six players from other regions of the world to compete in the third annual International Game as part of the Jordan Brand Classic on Saturday, April 17th at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Follow along with our blog and daily photo gallery from staff member Kevin Foley.
March 3rd - Arrival (4:00 pm EST / 11:00 pm Turkish time)
After arriving this morning in Istanbul, we spent most of the afternoon siteseeing around the city in the afternoon. We were lucky enogh to have ErHaN, from one of NIKE Turkey's agencies, take us around to a number of places in the city. There is no chance we would have managed without him. It was pretty fascinating learning about the history of the country and the current social issues.
The first stop was the NIKE store which was pretty similar to ones in the U.S. I was hoping for a Turkish-branded item, but I didn't have any luck. It was pretty cool to see how popular the products are here.
I was so impressed with Istanbul -- it is absolutely beautiful. It actually spans across two continents with part of the city in Europe and the other in Asia. As a result, I was able to knock another continent off my visited list, on a technicality. As a former home of the Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman empires, the city is full of beautiful buildings including mosques, palaces, churches and monuments. As historic as it is, Istanbul is actually very modern too. The buildings are brand new and many U.S. companies such as Starbucks (enjoyed a Hot Chocolate from there today), KFC, Papa Johns and most sports stores have a presense here.
At night, Marc, myself and Mike Hackman (from NIKE) went down the street to a Kabob spot, which was fantastic. While I like to think of myself as somewhat of a grillmaster as home, I would never be able to replicate their spices or pita bread. Upon returning to the hotel, we had another run-in with our Elevator girl -- a video that floats on the wall and makes it look like the girl is reacting to your conversation. It is amazing what people have time to come up with.
Well, I am off to bed. I have been steaming along with only about three hours since I left Phoenix so I am looking forward to a good night sleep. I will be up early to do some work.