Towering at seven feet, two inches and weighing in at 262 pounds, Alexis Ajinca might seem like your average National Basketball Association Player.
However, he is different from many other players in the league because he is not from America. He was born and raised in Saint Etienne, France. His father was a wrestler from the French Islands, and his mother was also born and raised in France.
Surprisingly, his basketball career did not start until age 12. However, his athletic career began much earlier than that. As a young boy, he participated in many BMX bike competitions. He obtained five top-five finishes in the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) Championships.
Ajinca began his basketball career in the 2008-09 season with the Dallas Mavericks. He played in 33 games and started in four of those, but was only able to average 2.3 points per game and 1 rebound per game. However, in his D-League assignment to the Sioux Falls Skyforce, he averaged 11.9 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. That year he shot a 79.6% free throw average with a 47.5% field goal average.
In the 2009-10 season, Ajinca played just 6 games for the Mavericks before a torn ligament in this thumb forced him to be assigned to the D-League team called the Maine Red-Claws. However, he did exceptionally well on Maine’s team, with 14.6 points per game and 7.5 rebounds per game. He also upped his field goal percentage to 54.6%, but his free throw percentage dropped to 74.8.
However, on January 22, 2010, he made D-League history with a triple-double, with 26 points, 13 rebounds and 10 blocks against the Austin Toros.
On January 24, 2011, the Mavericks traded Ajinca to the Toronto Raptors. He also plays internationally for the French National Basketball Team. It remains to be seen whether Ajinca will be able to improve enough to participate in regular NBA games. He seems to show quite a bit of promise.
Like all other basketball players, Alexis Ajinca’s interests extend far beyond the basketball court. In his spare time he enjoys listening to reggae music – it’s his favorite.
He loves watching the film Remember the Titans for its inspiration, and the show “House of Payne” for its unending humor.
His sister, Elodie, was also a BMX biker in her youth, and she continues that career today. In 2003, she became a BMX World Champion.