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

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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:


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5 must-see moments from Wizards' tough loss to Bucks including John Wall's circus shot

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' tough loss to Bucks including John Wall's circus shot

Here are the five best plays or moments from the Wizards' 104-95 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks on Monday afternoon...

1. John Wall came out swinging in the first half with 22 points, 16 of them in the first quarter alone. 

This was one of his best plays. Wall split two defenders and then flipped it in off the glass:

Wall finished with 27 points, nine assists, four rebounds, three steals and two blocks. 

2. Kelly Oubre, Jr. led the Wizards' bench with 19 points, five rebounds and a block. He missed on this play, but nearly dunked on Giannis Antetokounmpo. That would have been something:


3. Oubre did get this one to go down. He popped a three at the buzzer to end the third quarter:

4. Wall had some nice passes including this alley-oop lob to Tomas Satoransky. Sato got way up there:

Satoransky also threw down this alley-oop pass earlier thrown by Bradley Beal:

5. This last play was by the Bucks and it was not something you see every day. Antetokounmpo fired an assist through his legs like a longsnapper:

The Wizards lost a close one. Now they head to Charlotte to begin a five-game road trip.


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On MLK Day, John Wall wonders what King would think about race relations under President Trump

On MLK Day, John Wall wonders what King would think about race relations under President Trump

John Wall spoke at length over the summer about race relations in the United States following the violence in Charlottesville in August orchestrated by white supremacists.

Following the Wizards' game against the Bucks on Martin Luther King, Jr. day on Monday, Wall was asked about the subject again.

Wall does not believe improvements have made in the last few months with President Donald Trump in office and he wonders how King would react if he were alive to see the current state of America.

"I think he still wouldn't be satisfied. We're still dealing with it. I think it got better for a little period of time, but with the new president we have I think things are going backwards. We've been dealing with it the last couple of years. There are some things we still need to figure out," Wall said.


The Wizards play on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day every year and Wizards players cherish the tradition. It is not lost on Wall that he plays in Washington, D.C. where King made his famous 'I Have A Dream' speech and led the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963.

“That’s just an honor and a blessing," Wall said.

"We are all still sticking to what he had with this dream, and we are just trying to get everything to be right with it. To be able to play in this city is an honor."


Wall says he tries to embody King's dream in his own life. King helped lead the civil rights movement that paved the way for equal rights and Wall, an African-American, has much to thank for those who fought. Every American does.

Wall says he wants to make King proud.

“I just hope that he appreciates what I’m doing. I’m doing myself very well. I hope he’s thankful for what I’m doing. I’m striving to be a better African-American athlete, and just as a person first of all – I think that’s the most important thing," he said.