Iakovos "Jake" Tsakalidis (in Greek: Ιάκωβος Τσακαλίδης); born June 10, 1979, in Rustavi, Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic, USSR (present day Georgia) is a Georgian-Greek professional Basketball player.
Tsakalidis, a 7 ft 2 ½ in (2.20 m), 290 lbs. (131 kg) center, holds dual citizenship in Georgia, where he was born, and in Greece, where he was raised and became famous.
Tsakalidis began his professional career in 1998 at the age of 19 with the Greek League club AEK Athens. With AEK, he was a 2-time Greek Cup finalist (1998, 1999), a Saporta Cup winner (2000) and a Greek Cup winner (2000). In those years with AEK, Tsakalidis played at a great level, especially in the painted zone area, where he complemented his fellow teammates Michalis Kakiouzis and Dimosthenis Dikoudis in that area.
In the year 2000, Tsakalidis left Greece and moved to the United States. He began his NBA career that year when he signed with the Phoenix Suns. He would spend the next 7 seasons playing with various NBA teams. In 2007, he returned back to Greece after leaving the NBA club the Houston Rockets. He joined the Greek Euroleague club Olympiacos.
Tsakalidis was selected by the Phoenix Suns in the 1st round (25th overall) of the 2000 NBA Draft. On September 30, 2003, Tsakalidis was traded by the Suns with teammate Bo Outlaw to the Memphis Grizzlies for Brevin Knight, Robert Archibald, and Cezary Trybanski.
In his NBA career, he has averaged 5.1 points per game and 4.1 rebounds per game. He was traded by the Grizzlies to the Houston Rockets on February 13th, 2007 for small forward Scott Padgett.
Greek national basketball team Edit
Tsakalidis played for the Greece at the 1998 FIBA World Championship, where his team finished in 4th place, at the 1999 European Championship, where his team finished in 16th place, and at the 2003 European Championship, where his team finished in 5th place.