Furkan Korkmaz smiled faintly and politely as Franklin the Dog and Caesar the Fox pulled a curtain off of a new road sign just off mile marker 7 of Interstate 95 near Wilmington, DE.
“I honestly don’t know how this happened to me,” Korkmaz said, genuinely perplexed, surrounded by mascots. “I really don’t.”
Confetti guns were fired as the sign was unveiled, welcoming motorists to the newly-christened “Furkan Korkway,” believed to be the first designated korkway in the United States.
Officials from the Sixers, 87ers, and local politicians were on hand to join in the celebration.
“We’re really excited about this,” said Sixers CEO Scott O’Neil. “As a basketball team, we’re always looking for meaningful ways to innovate in so many different spaces, and to have the first korkway, it’s a big step for us.”
“It didn’t cost us anything, so we went along with it,” said John Carney, Delaware Governor. “As a state, any time you can make a deal with the Sixers and get out of it without incurring debt, you count your blessings.”
The new signage was unveiled at a recent ceremony following Korkmaz breaking the Sixers record this week for most assignments and subsequent recalls to the Delaware 87ers, making his seventh and eighth round trips between Philadelphia and Newark.
The signage replaces a similar sign in honor of the previous record holder, welcoming passersby to the Lorenzo Brown Parkway.
Brown, now a member of the Toronto Raptors’s G-League Affiliate, Raptors 905, sent along a short video message that was played at the ceremony, passing the torch.
“It’s yours now, sucker,” Brown said.
Korkmaz was at a loss for words in describing the honor.
“When I said I wanted to play in the NBA, this was not exactly what I had in mind,” he said.
Korkmaz said that during his now frequent trips, he’s gotten up to Season 2 of Lost on Netflix.
“I’m sure they’ll tie up all these loose ends eventually,” he said.
Jack Stevens, a Sixers intern from Drexel who has been assigned to drive Korkmaz back and forth, was also on hand to celebrate with Korkmaz, who he says is quiet, and also struggles to fit in his car.
“I wish they would have told me this is what I’d be doing before I bought that Prius,” he said. “It really can’t be comfortable for him.”
Passing motorists honked their horns in tribute to Korkmaz during the ceremony.
“Get out of the road, it’s 9 a.m!” one motorist yelled, making an obscene gesture towards the crowd.
After the ceremony, a reception was held at the Delaware House Service Plaza, where an arrangement of Cinnabon rolls was waiting in the shape of Korkmaz’s #30.
“We see him here all the time,” said Dawn, who works the register at the travel plaza Cinnabon. “He plays basketball, you say? I mean, he’s so tall, I guess I see it, but so thin. We’re really just trying to help fatten him up a bit.”
Korkmaz said he’s excited to get back on the road that now bears his name.
“Only northbound, though,” he added quickly. “For the love of God, northbound only.”
(No, none of this actually happened, but it should.)