LAS VEGAS -- In the 2005 NBA Draft, the San Antonio Spurs selected Ian Mahinmi from France with their first round pick. This left many Spurs fans scratching their heads. Many questioned who he was and why the Spurs drafted him. He even wasn't listed among the 128 players in the league's draft guide.
As Spurs fans got to see him play in the 2006 Rocky Mountain Review and in the D-League with the
Then came the injuries, the constant send backs to the Austin Toros, fouling out of games, all which led to the frustration of Spurs fans and may have led to the Spurs announcing they would not be picking up the last year of his contract.
With things not working out well for Mahinmi in
While I was at the 2010 Summer League, I got a chance to talk to Mahinmi about his time with the Spurs, joining the Mavericks, and more.
During my interview with him, I did notice that despite how things turned out for him with the Spurs, he knows where it all began for him and appreciated every moment, "Those three years with the Spurs were unbelievable," Mahinmi said when I asked him about his time in
Though Mahinmi has been in the NBA for three years, he is fully aware the journey to becoming a better player is still a work in process and that process couldn't have started better for the young player than to have Spurs forward, Tim Duncan, to learn from.
Now he will be playing with another great forward in Dallas, Dirk Nowitzki, and he is looking forward to that learning experience, "Its great for me. It's great to be around those guys and I think that will pay off. If I keep working and I keep listening to those vets. It’s a very great experience for me being able to play alongside two great guys like that."
Credit Mahinmi for knowing it took more than just
Now he is taking the lessons learned in
“I just want to keep improving on another winning team. I just want to win some more. I think we got a great organization. I got great teammates like
However, there is one date he is going to circle on his calendar once the 2010-2011 NBA season schedule is released, "You look forward to those games,” said Mahinmi when I asked him about the first game he will play against the Spurs next season, “I really got great memories, three great years. Its going to be weird to go to the visitors locker room in the AT&T Center. As a matter of fact I never been in there!”
“I am just looking forward to that game when I go play the Spurs and hopefully we do good and we win. Now I am all the way with the Mavs. If we (Mavericks) can beat them (Spurs) by 40 let’s do it!"
And if the visitor's locker room in the
Mahinmi is ready to prove himself after being unable to showcase his talents in
Of course during my interview with Mahinmi, he showed he is ready when it comes to joining the Mavericks side of the rivalry, “Hopefully we will meet in the playoffs next season and we can beat them!”