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We often ask why?

Why, why, why?

As I am composing this blog entry, I am saddened to report that a very good friend who I grew up with lost his son in a car accident.

Alexis Gumusdere died at the age of 19.

If the last name rings a bell, well, Alexis was the son of Turhan Gumusdere, A.K.A., Turk.


Turk was one of my best friends growing up as a teenager.   He grew up on Prospect Park Southwest and Greenwood avenue.  Turk also spent a lot of time at East 5th street playing ball from sun up until sun down.    I first met him at Jack Curren’s basketball camp when I was 14 years old.  He came to my rescue when some kids were making fun of me calling me ‘The Joker” because of my red hair. (We still talk about it 30 years later)

Ever since that day I spent a lot of time with Turk.

We played ball together, went out to clubs and hung out on Brighton 6.

We rode our bikes down Ocean Parkway to Manhattan Beach to play ball, we rode the trains into the city and hung out all over town and while he was a bouncer at 1018, I hung out with him outside watching all the people go inside.

Turk got me in Danceteria and many other clubs around the city.  I recall one night we were on the F-Train and I had a boom box playing just a bit too loud and a Transit cop came out of nowhere and slapped me with a ticket.

Turk also played for Brooklyn College men’s basketball team and one night in particular we were all in the house watching the Kingsmen play the Naval Academy.  Turk was going up and down doing his thing.  Little did we know at the time Navy’s center was a 6’7″ freshman named David Robinson.

Words can’t express how I feel as a parent of a nine year-old.  I wish Turk all the best, I know it’s going to be difficult.  Give him a shout out here on the comments section to tell him you are thinking of him.  He’s a a great dude and his son will be missed by all.

Here is the story from their local newspaper.