One-on-One with Ian Mahinmi

Throughout the season spurs.com will celebrate the Spurs 40th Anniversary by visiting with former players, coaches and front office staff to discuss their experiences with the organization and the city of San Antonio. Archive: Sam Presti | Dennis Lindsey | Ian Mahinmi
Pacers center Ian Mahinmi, who is in his first season with the Indiana Pacers, spent three seasons with the Spurs and Austin Toros from 2007-10. He appeared in 32 NBA games with San Antonio and averaged 3.8 points. Mahinmi played in 46 NBA D-League games with the Toros averaging 16.8 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.7 blocks. Mahinmi took some time after shootaround before the Indiana’s matchup against the Spurs on Nov. 5 to speak with spurs.com.

On playing with the Spurs:
“I spent three years here. I think those three years were very important for my career. They gave me a good base and foundation, being able to know the system and surround myself with great players and coaches. I learned a lot. My first year, I spent some time in the D-League in Austin. That was one of the best things that happened to me. Then my second year I got hurt but I was able to be around the coaches and players. They got me through everything. In my last year, my third year, I got to play. In those three years, I would never take them for granted. Those were really the foundations of my NBA career. If I had to do it over again, I would.”

On his favorite memories with the Spurs:
“There are a lot of good moments. One of the moments I will always remember was my first regular season game in my rookie year, the year after the Spurs won the championship. The ring ceremony that happened before the game was unbelievable. I was on the side because I wasn’t part of the team that won it. For me in my rookie year, being able to witness that, it was crazy. That was a moment that stayed in my head. From that day, I was like ‘wow.’ I want to be one of those guys that the crowd is cheering for and getting a ring. It was a moment that always stayed in my head. Then when I got my championship with Dallas (Mavericks), it was like ‘ahh,’ I now know what that feels like.”

On his favorite places in San Antonio:
“There were a lot of places that I liked. There were a few French restaurants that I liked. There was a place called Brasserie Pavil, but it’s not here anymore. I also love Coco Lounge that has a French owner who I know very well. When I come back, since I live here during the summer, I still go there. I love the city of San Antonio and that’s why I decided to make San Antonio my home. There are lots of great memories and lots of great places.”

On meeting his wife in San Antonio:
“I got introduced to her by a mutual friend in San Antonio. Next thing you know, a few years later she is my fiancée.  Now we have a baby. That ended up being good for me. I really love them.”

On spending time with his French national  teammates (Tony Parker, Boris Diaw, Nando De Colo) in the San Antonio:
“Our offseason is the French National Team season, so we all hang out and see each other in France and here in San Antonio. I think there is a connection between Paris and San Antonio, it’s undeniable!”