Name: Mickael Pietrus
Birth Date: February 7, 1982
Hometown: Paris, France
Born: Caribbean Island of Guadalupe
Team: Orlando Magic
Fan Nickname: â€œAir Franceâ€
Mickael Pietrus is known as one of the best rising talents in the NBA today. Fire, passion and pure heart describe his playing style. Here is a brief glimpse of what it took for him to become the person and the player he is today.
Mickael was born and reared in Les Abymes on the French Caribbean Island of Guadaloupe. Although this island paradise located 310 miles southeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico and is known for its beaches, Mickael preferred spending time in the hills and on the basketball court next to his house. Basketball quickly became his favorite sport and he had to learn quickly how to balance fun and keeping up with his school work.
At age 15, Mickael moved to Pau, France to join the Pau Orthez Junior Program. He made his professional debut at age 17 for Pau Orthez and played for them for four years. He was a star player in the Leagueâ€™s All-Star game his last three years, winning the French Pro-A League Championships in 2001 and 2003.
Both Mickaelâ€™s older brother Ronnie Coco and his younger brother Florent Pietrus played for Pau Orthez. Mickael and Florent were teammates for five (5) years. Due to his familyâ€™s connection with the team and his desire to support the community of Pau, Mickael became a shareholder in the team in 2003.
Mickael was drafted by the Golden State Warriors with the 11th overall in the 2003 NBA Draft. He is the highest draft pick for a French player in NBA history. He made his NBA debut on October 29, 2003 versus the Dallas Mavericks with five points and six rebounds in the 14 minutes he was on the court. Mickael continued to improve and he ended up starting the last 22 of 23 games of the season averaging 9.2 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.00 steals in 23.5 average minutes. He received one vote for NBA Second All-Defensive Team.
In the 2004-05 season, when he averaged 20.0 minutes per game he had a league high 9.0 points per contest (minimum 40 games.) There were 18 games where he played 25 minutes or more and he averaged 16.3 points. A turning point came for him on April 8, 2005 against the Phoenix Suns, he had a career high 28 points and he was 6-for-6 from three-point range, tying the franchise record for the most three-pointers made in a single game without a miss.
After a great start to his career, Mickael was plagued with injuries during the 2005-06 season. Although he recorded his first double-double with a season high tying 20 points and then-career high 10 rebounds, he missed 30 games due to injury.
In 2005, Mikael was named to the French National Team with fellow NBA players Tony Parker, Boris Diaw and Ronnie Turiaf. He helped France take home the Bronze Medal in the 2005 European Championships in Serbia & Montenegro averaging 11.5 points and 4.0 rebounds per contest.
Mickael returned to the Golden State Warriors for the 2006-07 season after a stellar off-season. Coach Don Nelson and his new coaching staff had taken the reigns of the team and they were looking to Mickaelâ€™s untapped strengths as a defender and a utility player. During this season, he played the 2, 3, 4 and in a few cases the 5 position. Fans were delighted to see â€œAir Franceâ€ enjoying all of the minutes on the court successfully defending against some of the best offensive shooters in the game today. The Warriors did so well in 2007 they made it to the NBA playoffs as the last seed and beat the league dominating first seed, Dallas Mavericks. Many regard the Warriors win as one of the largest NBA upsets in history. Mickael played in all 11 games during the playoffs averaging 6.0 points and 3.8 rebounds in 19.0 minutes before the team lost to the Utah Jazz.
Known for being a fan favorite on the court, Mickael has also made a name for himself because he is actively involved in improving his local and international communities. After a close friend from high school was diagnosed with Sickle Cell Anemia, Mickael continues to focus his charitable effort toward people especially children who have been diagnosed with this illness.
In 2007, Mickael traveled to France and in 2008, he went to Istanbul, Turkey to represent the NBA during their â€œBasketball without Bordersâ€ events. In addition, he has been honored by the French Consulate General of France in San Francisco for his continued support of the Bay Area Community. He was also given the 2007 Angela and Christopher Cohan Community Service Award. This recognition is given to the Golden State Warrior who is most committed to improving their community.
When Mickael is not on the basketball court or out helping in his community, you can probably find him in his kitchen. He enjoys gourmet dining and cooks only healthy food at home. He is fluent in both English and French, however he speaks Creole when he talks to friends from Guadaloupe. Being French, he has a simple elegant fashion sense. Even after being in the league for six years, Mickaelâ€™s biggest gifts to himself tend to be the newest technology gadgets for his home or office.
During the summer of 2008, Mickael signed with the Orlando Magic. Their fast playing style and aggressive level of play is a perfect fit. He is enjoying living in Orlando and being closer to his home island of Guadaloupe.
In 2009, Mickael will be hosting his Mickael Pietrus Youth Basketball Camp in Guadaloupe. This will be the fifth year for the camp and they expect well over 500 underprivileged kids to attend. This is a widely respected community event and attracting top NBA prospects. In addition, he will be heading to Asia to represent the NBA and their â€œBasketball without Bordersâ€ program. Mickael was named an Ambassador to the Board of Tourism for Guadaloupe. He will make sure people know about the beautiful beaches, hills and basketball courts on the paradise island where his life began.