Final Four club legend: Kaya Peker, Efes

May 19, 2021 by Print
Final Four club legend: Kaya Peker, Efes

Kaya Peker is one of the greats of Turkish basketball and the big man was a major force for Anadolu Efes Istanbul during a long run of success for the team. Not only did he lead the club - then known as Efes Pilsen - to five Turkish League crowns as well as four Turkish Cups but he also helped Fenerbahce Ulker Istanbul to titles and even played a major role in Tau Ceramica Baskonia Vitoria-Gasteiz reaching the 2006-07 EuroLeague Final Four.

The Ankara native began his career with Pinar Karsiyaka, where he debuted in the Turkish League in 1996 as a 16-year-old. He joined Efes in 2000 and following his first season there, Peker played for Turkey at EuroBasket 2001, where he captured a silver medal. That was just the start of his hardware collection. With Peker anchoring the paint, Efes claimed four straight Turkish League titles (2001-02 to 2004-05) to go along with the 2001, 2002 and 2006 cup trophies. After five seasons of playing in the EuroLeague – including twice reaching the quarterfinals, Peker left his homeland for Spain in 2006 and joined Baskonia. The team also reached the EuroLeague Final Four for a third straight season and also finished first in the Spanish regular season. However, Baskonia lost in the semifinals in both competitions.

Peker returned to Turkey after just one season when he signed with Besiktas Istanbul. He marked his return to his beloved Efes in 2008. Reunited with its big man, Efes claimed the Turkish League and Cup double in 2009. The club was league runner-up in 2010 after which he moved onto Fenerbahce, with which Peker would win another League and Cup double in 2011 as well as a sixth Turkish Cup in 2013.

After three campaigns with Fenerbahce, Peker - then 33 years of age - moved onto Trabzonspor for one year then two seasons with Tofas Bursa - helping the club get back to the Turkish League after being relegated. In 2017, Peker joined Turk Telekom Ankara in his hometown and helped the club earn promotion back to the Turkish League and then played one final season of European basketball in the EuroCup in 2018-19 before retiring from the game after that season.