19 December, 2022
25 May, 2023
Gorgan's Perry Petty wins for the people
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Gorgan's Perry Petty wins for the people

TEHRAN (Iran) - As long as the people are happy, I’m happy.

"I'm very confident in WASL with our team. We have a great chance to win this..."


That’s what Perry Petty said concerning how he felt about Gorgan’s performances so far in WASL - West Asia and the sentiment was emphasized over and over again.

"It feels great to be playing in WASL. The competition is good so far, we’ve only played a few games but it’s been against good teams," he said.

Gorgan lost their first game in the competition to Al Riyadi but has rebounded strongly with important wins against Al Naft and Alkaramah. While Petty didn’t have any strong feelings in particular about their first-ever WASL, he’s satisfied as long as the fans are happy.

"To get the first win, it felt regular," said Petty, who is currently averaging 19.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, 5.3 assists, and 1.3 steals per game.

"It’s not like we won the championship or something. It was good to get a win, and I’m happy we won. Nothing more, nothing less. Just a good win. We need more."

"But the fans are happy, Gorgan people are happy. It’s a good win for the club, for the team. So as long as the people are happy. I’m happy."

A home away from home

The bond that Petty has with Gorgan is genuine. Having played in Iran for fours year and counting, all with this Gorgan team, it’s as if he has found a new home.

"The relationship between me and Gorgan, the organization, the city, the fans is great. I really love playing for the city for the fans. They’re very passionate about basketball and I’m just happy we can bring joy and happiness to a large group of people by winning games and championships," said the 34-year-old veteran.

It’s a strong relationship not only because of the duration which has lasted for nearly half a decade but also because of the success that these two sides have experienced with each other in these recent years.

Before playing with Gorgan, Petty was already a seasoned pro with a 7-year career that went through Slovakia, Romania, Venezuela, Belarus, Italy, Hungary, Lebanon, Greece, and Lithuania as well as minor leagues in the USA. He’s had his seasons as a scorer and as a creator but, by his accords, he was not used to being tagged as a winner.

Even though he did experience some success as a champion in the Premier Basketball League and winner of the Hungarian Cup, it was just not something with which he was regularly associated.

"Being a winner, that’s something that wasn’t attached to my name early on in my career," Petty admitted.

Before Gorgan had acquired Petty, they were also not a club that was regularly associated with being a winning club. That label was reserved by the likes of teams like Mahram Tehran or ZobAhan who had won multiple titles. In the first 50 years of the club’s existence, right before Petty joined the team, they had never won a title in the Iran local league.

As a matter of fact, Gorgan had never even finished higher than 4th place since the turn of the millennium.

Then, everything began falling into place.


"We had made it to the Finals my first year here," said Petty, who was named the MVP that season. "We fell short, but I saw the excitement on all the fans’ faces and heard the excitement that was brought to our city, and saw the disappointment after we lost."

"A lot of people were just happy that we made it, but I was disappointed that we lost in the Finals, so my goal was to come back and win one for this city."

"So I came back and we did that, so that’s big. And now I want to continue until we can’t do it no more. Until we lose. And hopefully, that’s never."

The First One

To state that Perry Petty came back for his second season and won the 2019-20 league title with Gorgan is factually correct. However, it also leaves out a lot of context as to why it was so special.


Adding the context that it was also the first-ever league title for Gorgan makes it more special, but it still does not paint a proper picture as to why Petty is considered a club legend.

To fully understand why the bond between Petty and Gorgan is so strong that it has lasted for so many years, you’d have to dive into how the team won that first title.

Gorgan had made it back to the Finals in 2021, this time against Mahram Tehran. They had gone through the regular season and the entire postseason up until the Finals undefeated. Mahram had finally dealt Gorgan their first loss of the season in Game 2 of the Finals series, but Gorgan had the 2-1 advantage going into Game 4.

It was a back-and-forth affair worthy of a Finals matchup, though Gorgan had been in control through the later part of the fourth quarter… until the final seconds when Mahram reclaimed the lead. Once Matin Jalalian knocked down both of his free-throws to give Gorgan a three-point lead with less than one second to go, it seemed as if the series was headed to a decisive Game 5.

Then, this happens.


"I just remember telling one of the players like ‘Don’t worry about nothing, we gonna win. Don’t worry, we gonna win the game. Just keep your head up, be positive, we gonna win’."

"They were up about three, it was like .3 seconds. All I was thinking about is if I get the ball, I’m going to shoot it. And I got the ball and I shot it. It went in."

"My first thought was that they were not going to count it because it was .3 seconds but they counted it and we headed to overtime."


"At that point, I said okay we gonna win this game. Like god was watching over us, no way they gonna let us lose this."

And they did.

Petty scored 6 of his game-high 36 points in the overtime period on two three-pointers as Gorgan cruised to a 110-103 win.


"That first championship was pretty much everything," he said.

"That first championship was special, we definitely worked hard for it. It was something we all needed for the city and for the fans being that they had never won a championship prior to that."

"The way that we won it was also special, definitely special for me. I went through a lot that year, as far as injuries and other things so to win it in that fashion - just to win a championship is always great is always special - but to win it in that fashion made it a little more special."

"It’s just a little more gratifying for me. I was just happy I was there, just to create happiness, create some joy and just create a different mood for the city, especially in those times, especially in these dark times in the world that’s happening now."


"It’s good to be able to make people smile, and help people forget about real-life situations, even if it’s for an hour or 20 minutes. We were able to do that and I’m happy about that."

Other than winning that historic title, Petty also earned himself a pretty cool nickname along the way though he admits it hasn't caught on just yet.

"I really don’t have a nickname that I can think of right now. People just call me Perry Petty. Some people call me ‘Hand of God’ because of the shot like it’s something from God’s hand, like [Diego Maradonna]. But other than that I don’t really have another nickname that I know of."

Whatever the case, Gorgan’s "Hand of God" was only focused on winning that title.

An appetite for winning

"You never want to go back to not winning, after you taste it," said Petty. "That’s where I’m at now. After you taste winning, you never want to go back to not winning."

So that’s exactly what he did when he returned for a third season with Gorgan.

In the 2021-22 season, Gorgan finished the season with a 17-3 record before blazing their way through the Playoffs. They lost one game in the Semi-Finals and another overtime defeat in the Finals against ZobAhan, but they didn’t require any dramatic late-game heroics from Petty as they did in the year before to seal the deal.

Gorgan led through the entire deciding Game 4 of the Finals with Petty scoring 41 points on just 18 shot attempts to claim a second straight title. It might not have been as special as that first run to hoist the trophy, but to Petty and the team, it was just as important.

"Running it again was beautiful, much needed," he said. "It shows that the first time wasn’t just luck. It just shows that we worked hard and we got it done."


"Winning multiple awards and stuff is definitely good because you worked hard for it. I worked hard and still continuously work hard, not to win awards but to be recognized that the hard work shows and is gratified. It lets you know that your hard work isn’t going unnoticed."

"But winning a championship is enough for me, as long as we win, I’m happy. I don’t have to be the best player, I don’t have to be the MVP or anything like that. As long as the team wins, we are all MVPs, that’s how I feel."

And after those first three seasons with Gorgan, after making it to the Finals for the first time, after getting the taste of winning two seasons in a row, that’s the lesson that Petty has learned on his path to being labeled as a winner.


"I just learned that the biggest thing about being a winner, in my opinion, is sacrifice," he said. "I could come out in these games and try to score 30 and 40 points and just be the best guy scoring-wise and things like that."

"But to be a winner - a real winner - teammates have to make sacrifices, not just on the court, but also off the court. There are a lot of things you might want to do that you maybe can’t do for the sake of the team for the sake of winning games. Preserving your body, things of that nature."

"Being a winner you just sacrifice, you work hard, keep your head down, and continue to grind and grind and work and I learned that later on in my career and coming to Iran."

New challenge

Because Gorgan won the title in 2022, Petty now gets to take that winning mentality through a new test as they qualified to be one of the teams of the inaugural West Asia Super League (WASL) season.

They are currently the top team in Group B of WASL - West Asia, placing them in a good spot to advance directly through the Semi-Finals of the Final Phase if they maintain their position up until the end of the Group Phase. The key game right now for Gorgan is their upcoming on 18 January, which was a rematch against Al Riyadi.

The previous clash between these two teams was the very first game of the season for both teams and it resulted in a high-quality battle. Unfortunately for Gorgan, the result was a defeat, 81-74. Petty went off to a slow start with 16 points on 6-16 field-goal shooting along with 5 rebounds and 4 assists.

Since then, however, both Gorgan and Petty have been performing better and better in the competition. Gorgan have beaten both Alkaramah and Al Naft, while Petty has scored more points, grabbed more rebounds, and made more assists in each game.

If they can win this rematch at home against Riyadi, it would put Gorgan in a good position to go all the way.

"I’m very confident in WASL with our team," said Petty. "We have a great chance to win this and we just have to sacrifice a little more to play for each other."

"We have a good chance to win this thing."