Simon recollects five years in Efes: Forever grateful I had Larkin and Micic

2022-11-28T10:32:41+00:00 2022-11-28T14:41:36+00:00.

Bojan Brezovac

28/Nov/22 10:32

Krunoslav Simon talks to Eurohoops about his time spent in Efes before the club officially retires his jersey on December 1

By Bojan Brezovac/

After a decade of appearances in all selections of KK Zagreb, Krunoslav Simon went abroad to Spain, Russia, Italy, and finally Turkey.

Few could have guessed, least of all himself, that he would become a true legend, heart, and soul of Anadolu Efes. The two-time European champion will now have the opportunity to see his number 44 jersey retire forever.

Simon joined the Istanbul side in 2017 and has since been crowned champion in the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague twice, in 2021 and 2022. In 2019 and 2021, he helped his side capture the domestic league championship title. And was also the winner of a couple of Turkey Cups in 2018 and 2022, and a couple of Super Cups in 2018 and 2019.

The official ceremony is scheduled for December 1 when Efes plays Olympiacos in the Euroleague. Simon will be in the first row seats, watching his former teammates battling for another “W”. That day he will be there as a fan, and soon officially – a legend of the club.

I knew for some time that Efes would retire my jersey, but when the official notification came, I couldn’t believe it again. It is an understatement to say that I am honored or that I could have expected something like this when I came to Efes in 2017. I spent beautiful years in Istanbul, made friends and I can only be eternally grateful to the club“, Krunoslav Simon said in an interview with Eurohoops.

Simon will thus become only the second basketball player to whom Efes will give such an honor, as under the vaults of the Sinan Erdem Hall is the jersey of former North Macedonian international Petar Naumoski, who spent six years in two terms as a member of the most trophy-winning Turkish club and won four titles and five cups in Turkey, as well as the FIBA Cup Korac.

I can’t really put myself first. So many guys have been through the team, basketball is a team game, and to be honest, we had Shane Larkin and Vasilije Micic, two guys who have been dominating for years and whose jerseys will most certainly be retired. Now it’s mine because I was the first to go, but those two guys are something special, I’m glad I was their teammate and I was able to help the team. I enjoyed playing basketball“.

If we exclude Zagreb at the start of his career, he has not stayed anywhere like in Istanbul. Five whole years.

Of course, those two titles of European champions will always be etched in my memory, but for me personally, two different situations stand out.”

These two details illustrate what kind of teammate and person Krunoslav is.

The first situation is the defeat against CSKA in 2019 when we played the first final. I will never forget the faces of my teammates in the locker room, they literally gave their all, the last atom of strength, then I saw that it was only a matter of time before we would become champions of Europe, and the second moment for me personally, which was very emotional, was when Vasilije Micic received the MVP award “.

The Serbian playmaker left a special impression on the Croatian international.

I was there when Vasilije Micic came, I can freely say, through the back door to the club, and then he managed to become the best playmaker in Europe, winning awards, bringing trophies. Great guy. I remember that emotional moment when he received the MVP award, I was so happy for him, and I was overcome by emotions, as if I had won the award, that’s how I felt.”

He ended his stay in Efes in the best possible way – with the title of European champion. He said goodbye to the club, but not to basketball.

I am now playing in Cedevita junior, but the real debut is yet to come. I broke my hand in the first round, I was in rehabilitation, so I have yet to really play. I still love basketball and I want to be on the court.

The versatile basketball ace had a final message.

I owe a lot to basketball, I still play only for love. If it wasn’t for basketball, I would never be able to represent my country at the Olympic Games, travel the world, or win trophies. Basketball is a wonderful game, and as long as I feel love and passion for it, I will play.”

Photo Credit: Getty Images