Frenchman's role, experience key in Pacers' push to postseason

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Reminders he had made it to the bigtime were everywhere. Nevertheless, there were moments Ian Mahinmi felt like pinching himself just to make sure.

Mahinmi turned 21 at the outset of the 2007-08 NBA season. Playing for San Antonio, the franchise responsible for drafting him two years earlier, he was running the floor with Spurs icons Tim Duncan and Tony Parker, the latter a fellow Frenchman.

“My first year I did have to pinch myself a lot. There were a lot of big names around me, guys like Tony, Tim, Manu (Ginobili), Big Shot Rob (Robert Horry) and Bruce Bowen,” said Mahinmi, the first-year Indiana Pacers player who backs up starting center Roy Hibbert. “Then you get used to it and realize they’re just human beings like you.”

Referring to Mahinmi as well-traveled doesn’t quite cover it.

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