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Why Cavs fans already love Cedi Osman

What makes a fanbase love a foreign player whose name they can’t pronounce consistently?

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers at Orlando Magic Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Dear anyone who ever wonders why we love No. 16,

If you’ve been around this website — or on Cavs Twitter — in the past 18 months, you know that we really like Cedi (it’s JED-ee!) Osman. Which is weird, because he’s not a super-talented foreign star that crossed the pond. He’s a Turkish hustle player with goofy hair, a big smile, and a penchant for defense.

What makes Cedi so endearing is that he is so us. He was told on draft night that he would be playing overseas for two more years. Many foreign draft-and-stash players don’t make it to the NBA, but Cedi often talked about how he was getting ready to come play for the Cavaliers. It was all he wanted to do.

Osman would watch Cavs’ games from wherever he was playing, no matter the time difference. Simply put, he became a fan of the team he hoped he would eventually play for. Is that not how many of us grow up? Playing a sport as a child with the thought in your mind that one day you would play for your favorite team?

Cedi Osman has something else in common with most of us: he loves LeBron James. Cedi doesn’t get star-struck, but he makes the faces we would make if we knew LeBron. Whenever LeBron dunks, maybe no one gets as excited as Cedi. When LeBron hits a game winner against the Timberwolves, Cedi gets so excited that he nearly out-jumps LeBron (!) in celebration. (Seriously, rewatch the tape.)

People always talk about how relatable Steph Curry is by appearance because he’s not a super-tall, super-strong monster. If that’s true, then I would say Cedi Osman is just as relatable. I mean, look at his face:

NBA: Cleveland Cavaliers-Media Day Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

He would, quite literally, fit in at most high school graduation parties in the United States, even at 6’8”. I would bet that he has gotten carded at a Cleveland bar on more than one occasion.

On the court, Osman does things that so many other Cavaliers haven’t been doing, like defending with intensity, running the floor, and trying really hard. Few players run as hard in transition and it’s a ton of fun. Just watch this beautiful, floppy running form:

Wow. Amazing. That Pacer got out of the way because Cedi Airlines had a direct flight from Istanbul to Indianapolis and achieved lift-off late in the first quarter. Let’s watch him in transition with LeBron James:

The Wizards know that LeBron is pretty dangerous in transition. Cedi, a LeBron fan, knows this as well and just sneaks beside him until it is too late for Washington to stop him. He makes his move and hits an uncontested, unathletic layup with a little leg kick under the basket for flair.

I don’t even need to talk about Cedi defensively because Carter already took care of it.

Still not convinced? Here are hard numbers for the analytically-inclined: Cedi is in the top 25 for average speed on defense for players with over 300 minutes. Facts only.

So we’ve talked about the defense and the running, but what about the trying? I’ll let LeBron James talk about Cedi Osman trying really hard:

I can’t argue with LeBron James on basketball matters.

Cedi Osman is a beautiful and precious human being who plays basketball really hard for our favorite basketball team and loves basketball and our favorite basketball team and, with all of the crazy stuff that our favorite basketball team does, his “purity of the game” is exactly what we need.

We’re sorry not sorry if you don’t get it.