Batum was born in 1988 in Lisieux, France to Richard and Sylvia Batum. He began his pro career at 17 with Le Mans Sarthe in the French League and played there for two seasons. At the 2006 FIBA Europe U-18 Championship, Batum won gold with France in addition to being named MVP and part of the All-Tournament team. He has also competed for his country at several other events, including a gold at the 2013 FIBA EuroBasket and bronze at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup. Batum represented France at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London in addition to participating for the World Team at the 2007 Nike Hoop Summit. He established the Batum Foundation in 2011 with his mother and sister to help pregnant African women and their children. You can follow Batum on Twitter (@nicolas88batum) and Instagram (@nicbatum88). Unlike many European players, Batum did not spend many years making his way through various leagues before heading to the NBA. The 6-foot-8 Frenchman spent just two seasons playing for Le Mans Sarthe and was just 20 years of age when he made his way to the USA. In his first season for Le Mans, he came off the bench for 13.0 minutes and provided 3.4 points and 2.5 rebounds. Batum had a greater impact in his second season when he provided 12.3 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.6 assists. The wing has had impressive performances in international competition. He was the most valuable player in the Under-18 Albert Schweitzer Tournament to help France prevail in the competition. He also opened some eyes in the 2007 Nike Hoop Summit when he provided 23 points, four rebounds and four steals. After finishing the 2008 season in France, Batum made himself available for the 2008 NBA Draft, where he was selected with the 25th pick in the 2008 NBA draft by the Houston Rockets, although he was later traded to the Portland Trail Blazers for the rights to Darrell Arthur and Joey Dorsey.