Oh, the places basketball will take you.
From high school in Topeka, to college in Springfield and now pro ball in Istanbul, Turkey. The game has allowed former Missouri State All-American Kyle Weems to see the world, even its dark hours.
“It was a little scary at first, you just basically signed your life over for the next 8-10 months to this certain city that was still uncertain about how things were going to go with their government,” Weems said. “And when you start talking about safety, it’s not about myself anymore. It’s about my wife and my son.”
A year ago, as Weems signed his contract, the Turkish regime survived a military coup.
“I kept in contact with everyone over there with my team and my coaches, things calmed down a lot and we had about a month till we had to report and everything was okay,” Weems said.
Weems says he feels safe, but still stays aware.
“Obviously, terrorism is a problem everywhere, not just in Turkey. We keep our eyes peeled, but as far as living scared and staying in our apartment, we don’t do that,” he said. “We still live like we would here and I think that is important when you are living away from your family and friends for 9 to 10 months.”
Despite the political unrest, Weems and his family have lived the last year happily.
“A lot of people look at Turkey like it is dangerous or not a safe place,” said Weems, who turns 28 next month. “I don’t feel that way at all when we are there. I am not just saying that because I play there – I really truly mean that. They are some of the most nice, friendly, family-oriented people. They are very proud of their country and their family and honor is huge.”
Now Weems is ready to start his second season with Beşiktaş Sompo Japan.
“[I’m] very excited to play a second year in a row for the first time in my career,” he said. “I’ve played on a different team in a different city every year, so to go back and take my family with me in a familiar situation is definitely something I am looking forward to.”