Nicolas Batum is a French professional basketball player who plays for the Charlotte Hornets of the National Basketball Association (NBA). For his length, Batum is very agile on the floor as is a highly skilled defensive player. He is also one of the best in the famous chase down block, a specialty inspired from the blocking specialist Dikembe Mutombo who is famously known for wagging his finger after rejections. The chase down block has become a fundamental part of his game, a superior skill that he brought along with him to the NBA.
From a very age only, Nicolas Batum was considered one of the most talented young players in Europe. He was part of the junior French national team that won the 2004 FIBA Europe Under-16 Championship. For his contribution, Batum was named the MVP of the 2006 FIBA Europe Under-18 Championship as France went onto win the gold medal in that tournament. In 2006, Batum was named the most valuable player of the Under-18 Albert Schweitzer Tournament in Mannheim, Germany which the French national team went onto win. Batum was also a member of the French national team that finished third-place in the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, becoming the first French team to win a medal in a FIBA Basketball World Cup competition. He averaged 31.0 points in the final two games and was subsequently named to the all-tournament team.
Batum was drafted as the 25th overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft by the Houston Rockets. But before he even had a chance to try on his jersey, he was traded to the Portland Trail Blazers. Playing only three games off the bench, Batum quickly grabbed onto the starting position. Batum had a breakout year in the 2012-13 season as he improved statistically in almost all the departments. It was during this season that Batum recorded the 15th ‘five by five’ in the NBA as he scored 11 points, 10 assists, 5 rebounds, 5 blocks and 5 steals in a 95-94 win over the New Orleans Hornets.
After seven years with the Blazers, Batum was traded to the Charlotte Hornets in 2015. Even though Batum suffered through a series of rough injuries in the three years as a Hornet, he has still been able to maintain a high level of play averaging 13.8 points, 5.7 rebounds 5.7 assists to go along with one steal per game. He re-signed with the Hornets on a five-year, $120 million contract in 2016.