Ronny Turiaf was born on January 13, 1983 in Le Robert on the French island of Martinique to parents Georges Louis Turiaf and Aline Cesar. Ronny is the oldest of four with three younger sisters, Elodie, Florence and Rachelle. He speaks five languages including French, English, Spanish, Italian and his native Creole. In 1998, when he was 15 years old, he left his home on Martinique for Paris, France where he attended the INSEP (National Institute of Physical Education), a school that combines rigorous secondary education with elite level athletic training. In 1999, he made the French Under 18 National Team and a year later helped lead the team to the European title along with future NBA stars Tony Parker, Boris Diaw and Mickael Pietrus.
In 2001, Ronny left France and headed to the United States where he attended Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. He went on to play four years of basketball and graduated with a degree in Sports Management and Communication. During his collegiate career, Ronny was named First Team All-West Coast Conference, and in his senior year, he was named the WCC Player of the Year. That same year he also earned Honorable Mention All-American honors from the Associated Press and was a finalist for the Naismith and Wooden Awards. He ended his college career as the fourth all-time leading scorer (1,723) and rebounder (859) in school history. He also ranked second in blocks (179) and is Gonzaga’s all-time leader in free throws made (643).
During the 2005 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers selected Ronny with the 37th overall pick, signing him to a two year, $1 million contract. But after a physical exam found an enlarged aortic root in Turiaf’s heart, a potential life-threatening condition, his contract was voided. Team doctors decided the problem was serious enough to warrant surgery. On July 26, 2005, Ronny underwent a successful six-hour open-heart surgery at Stanford Medical Center. His expected recovery time was between six months to a year. As a part of his rehabilitation, Ronny signed with the Continental Basketball Association’s Yakama Sun Kings. On January 17, 2006, less than six months after his surgery, he resigned with the Los Angeles Lakers. He made his NBA debut on February 8, 2006 at Houston and appeared in 26 games for the remainder of the season including 3 playoff games. For the next two years Ronny was a valuable member of the Lakers organization, averaging 75 games and helping the Lakers advance to the 2007-08 NBA Finals where they fell to the Boston Celtics in six games.
During the summer of 2008, Ronny and the Golden State Warriors came to terms on a four-year, $17 million contract. The Lakers did not match the offer and on July 18, 2008 the deal was finalized. Ronny appeared in 79 games for the Warriors during the 2008-09 season, averaging 5.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 2.13 blocks in just 21.5 minutes. He started 26 of those games and it didn’t take long for Ronny to become a fan favorite with his high energy style of play and intensity. He finished the season ranked fourth in the NBA in blocks and established new career highs in games played, starts, minutes, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks and free throw percentage.
Since joining the Warriors Ronny has been very active in the Bay Area community. Among his various community contributions, he is extremely active in activities that allow him to interact and have a positive influence on underprivileged Bay Area children. Each season Ronny has purchased 25 tickets for each Warriors home game to donate to various youth groups within the community. His ticket section at Oracle Arena is affectionately called, “Madidina’s Islanders” named for his native island of Martinique. In August of 2009, inspired by his own experience, Ronny started the Heart to Heart Foundation to spread heart health awareness and education to underprivileged children and families. The Foundation seeks to provide community classrooms with defibrillators and educational materials on the importance of heart health awareness as well as providing funding for early detection tests. Ronny’s passions exist both on and off the court and he remains committed to utilizing his NBA career to make an impact within the Bay Area community and beyond.