Quick Links

How Ian Mahinmi lost weight, his love for D.C. and his best French restaurant recommendations

USA Today Sports Images

How Ian Mahinmi lost weight, his love for D.C. and his best French restaurant recommendations

Following the most difficult year of his NBA career, a season in which he missed 51 games fresh off signing a four-year, $64 million free-agent contract with the Washington Wizards, Ian Mahinmi entered this offseason determined to get lighter and in better shape, hoping to take some weight off of his surgically repaired knees.

His summer began with a minor procedure to repair the meniscus in his left knee. From there it was trips across the world, all while working with his personal trainers and chef to redesign his body for the rigors of a full season in today's NBA where the expectations for a big man have changed. 

Mahinmi, 30, travelled to West Africa and Europe with his family and personal team. After months of early morning workouts and not eating his favorite foods, he has dropped 10 pounds without losing any muscle mass.

"I had an entourage," Mahinmi said on the Wizards Tipoff podcast.

"I did a lot of traveling, but I kept my people with me. My chef travelled with me, my trainers and my strength coach. I had sometimes four people with me. I had my chef, my strength coach and sometimes two shooting coaches."

To Africa, Mahinmi had only one assistant along for the trip. To France, the whole crew was there in addition to his wife and two daughters. That included a four-day excursion to Disneyland in Paris. Mahinmi would get his training done early in the morning before his girls woke up. That's when the hard work actually began.

"The whole day in Disneyland... that was my real workout for the day, but it was awesome," Mahinmi said. "It's tiring. They have fireworks at 11 at night once the sun goes down so it's basically from 10:30 [a.m.] all the way to 11."


Mahinmi overhauled his diet with help from his personal chef. The main culprit was sweets and, man, does Mahinmi miss them.

"It was the sugar, man. Obviously, I'm gluten-free everything. But sugar, I'm a big-time chocolate guy. Chocolate bars, all that stuff. I had to cut that off. I had to really give up the sugar. Nowadays, even if you go to Whole Foods, you look at the back of anything you grab, you are going to see sugar in it. There is sugar in everything," he said.

A native of France, Mahinmi also has an affinity for French food, which can feature rich, butter-based sauces, delicious bread and decadent desserts. Mahinmi has to limit his intake of French food from here on out and that won't be easy in Washington, D.C.

Mahinmi has played in San Antonio, Dallas and Indianapolis previously in his NBA career, but D.C. has the best French food by a longshot. 

"Oh my gosh. You can't even compare. In Indy, you probably have maybe one or two restaurants. In D.C., it's really good," he said.


Mahinmi offered a long list of French restaurant and bakery recommendations. 

"I like Le Chat Noir [in Tenleytown]. I like Lepic [in Georgetown]. Le Diplomate [on 14th St.] is really good. There's another one right on Wisconsin and P. St., Cafe Bonaparte. I just went and got a salad a few days ago," he said of restaurants.

As for bakeries, "There is Patisserie Poupon on Wisconsin, but there's another one a little farther down called [Boulangerie] Christophe. It's probably been open like six, seven or eight months. It's awesome. I go there and they know me. They always take care of me. It's so much better here as far as French food, but I can't have it too much. I have it on my cheat day. I have maybe a croissant or something like that."

D.C. is an international city and Mahinmi has international roots. He frequents three separate embassies and has invited their employees to games. There is of course the French embassy, but also that of Benin, a West African nation of which Mahinmi has roots, as well as the Jamaican embassy. His mother is from Jamaica.

"I take care of my people," he said. "D.C. is very diverse and I love it. For a guy like me, it's great."


You can listen to Mahinmi's full interview on the Wizards Tipoff podcast right here:


Quick Links

Wizards pick up Kelly Oubre, Jr.'s contract option with bright future ahead

USA Today Sports Images

Wizards pick up Kelly Oubre, Jr.'s contract option with bright future ahead

The play of Kelly Oubre, Jr. over the past calendar year had made the Wizards picking up his contract option an increasingly easy decision. On Saturday, they opted to keep him for the fourth year of his rookie contract, the 2018-19 season, and did so with a week to spare before the deadline.

Oubre, 21, has emerged as a key contributor for a Wizards team with expectations of a deep playoff run. He is still finding his trule role in the NBA, but with his youth and potential, and the fact he's still on a rookie deal, Oubre has a unique place on their roster.

John Wall and Bradley Beal have already emerged as stars. Otto Porter still has room to get much better, but has already arrived and earned a max contract. Oubre, though already established in their rotation, has plenty of room to grow.

Oubre, the 15th overall pick in 2015, doubled his minutes last season to 20.3 per game under head coach Scott Brooks with averages of 6.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 0.7 steals per game. He earned Brooks' trust mainly on the defensive end with his versatility and high motor.

Consistency is where Oubre needs to improve, but through two games this season he appears to have taken another step. Oubre added two inches to his vertical leap over the summer despite rehabbing from platelet-rich plasma treatment on his right knee. He also gained some muscle, allowing him to make strides as a rebounder. Oubre has 15 rebounds through two games and said it's specific focus of his.


The Wizards are a good enough offensive team currently to where Oubre can focus on defense and rebounding. But his growing confidence on offense has been evident so far this year and especially in the preseason. He has worked on dribbling with his right hand and the result is more aggression attacking the rim. Though still not a polished product, Oubre is taking small steps to emerge as a more dangerous scoring threat.

The Wizards will have another decision to make on Oubre this time next year. One day before the 2018-19 regular season begins, they will have to choose whether to hand Oubre a rookie scale contract extension. They weren't able to beat that deadline with Porter and the next summer he received a $106.5 million max deal after hitting the market as a restricted free agent. 

Oubre at this very moment wouldn't command that type of money in free agency, but the same was said about Porter at this point in his career. Porter was able to improve significantly in his fourth season.

Wizards majority owner Ted Leonsis said this summer that he would love to have Oubre force the issue with his performance on the court.

"He's going to come back and work really, really hard and challenge us to pay him a lot of money, too, which I'm glad to do," Leonsis said. 

It's early in the season, but Oubre may be on his way towards making the Wizards ponder his long-term future.

The Washington Post first reported Oubre's contract option getting picked up.



Quick Links

John Wall doesn't hold LaVar Ball's talking against Lonzo, but knows 'he'll be targeted'

USA Today Sports Images

John Wall doesn't hold LaVar Ball's talking against Lonzo, but knows 'he'll be targeted'

Clippers guard Patrick Beverley made a point to embarrass Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball in the latter's NBA debut. After dominating him on the court, Beverley said he had to "set the tone." 

On Wednesday, Wizards point guard John Wall will get a crack at Ball when Washington plays the Lakers at the Staples Center. Wall knows why Beverley went after Ball like that, but says he doesn't blame Ball himself.

"I think his dad put him in a situation where guys are going to target him," Wall said on the Wizards Tipoff podcast, referencing LaVar Ball. "Lonzo is one of those kids that is very talented. He's been a good player for years, he just don't say much. I think his dad does all the talking for him."

Ball, 19, was the second overall pick in this June's NBA Draft. He had just three points on 1-of-6 shooting against the Clippers on Wednesday, but bounced back for 29 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists against the Suns on Friday. 

Wall thinks Ball will be fine as long as he can keep up his production on the court to back up his dad's trash-talking.

"He's a great kid from what I've seen on the outside looking in," Wall said. "A lot of people in this league are going to take it personally. It's not the son's fault. He went back and had a better game [vs. the Suns]. That's all he's gotta do is go out there and play. He's not gonna do any talking anyways. If he gets killed or don't get killed or kills somebody, he's not going to be the guy talking."

Wall is as competitive as they come and will give Ball a tough challenge on Wednesday night, but it doesn't sound like he plans to pull a Beverley and overtly embarrass him.

Listen to Wall's full 1-on-1 interview on the Wizards Tipoff podcast: