Serge Ibaka

Serge Ibaka: Forward

Fun Fact:

Serge Ibaka’s full name is Sergeballu LaMu Sayonga Walahas Jonas Hugo Ibaka.

Bio:

Serge Ibake was born in Brazzaville in the Congo Republic on September 18th, 1989, and honed his basketball skills from his parents, both of whom played basketball with national teams. His mother played for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, while his father played for the Republic of the Congo. Unfortunately, Ibaka suffered a lot of loss at a young age, when his mother passed away when he was only 8 years old and his father was imprisoned due to the Second Congo War, after which Ibaka bounced from relatives homes to the streets, finally ending up with his grandmother. During this hard time in his life, the young player would run for miles and practice shooting in public parks with scraps of garbage and garbage cans. At the age of 17, the Congolese player decided to move to France, where he joined a division basketball team, before moving to Spain, where he played for a second division basketball club called CB L’Hospitalet. In doing so, Serge Ibaka’s statistics averaged with 10.8 points, 8.2 rebounds and shot of 55%. Not following the usual route of being scouted through the NCAA, Ibaka participated in multiple international showcases, where he picked up an MVP award at the Reebok Eurocamp, and the attention of NBA scouts. They would say that “athletically he’s off the charts, there’s no telling how good he can be”, and his talent and attitude has swept the courts since. In 2008, Serge Ibaka was selected by the Seattle SuperSonics, now known as Oklahoma City Thunder, but was decidedly kept in Europe. He signed a three-year contract with Ricoh Manresa of the ACB League in Spain, where he averaged 7.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 1 block in 16 minutes per game. In 2009, the Thunders paid the buyout and signed him to two more optional seasons, where his defensive game was of strength for the team. In his first season with the NBA, he averaged 6.3 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per game, the latter of his average led all rookies within the 2009-10 season, and ranking 20 overall in the league. During the playoffs, the second game against the Los Angeles Lakers allowed him to record 7 blocks, where he became the youngest player to have 7 blocks in a playoff game. On February 19, 2012, after returning to the NBA from the 2011 NBA lockout, the Congolese player scored his first career triple-double in a game against the Denver Nuggets, scoring 14 points, 15 rebounds, and career high of 11 blocks. Ibaka continued his journey with Oklahoma City Thunder in 2012 as he signed a four year deal, in the same season upping his scoring average from 9.1 to 13.2, and lead the league with an average of 3 blocks. In the 2013-14 season he averaged career highs of 15.1 points and 8.8 rebounds per game, while leading the league in total blocks at 219. On February 19th of 2015, in a game against the Dallas Mavericks, Ibaka scored 21 points and a career high of 22 rebounds. In June, 2016, the former Oklahoma player was traded to the Orlando Magic, where he scored his then career high of 31 points in a November game against his previous team, Oklahoma City Thunder. After a year in Orlando, Serge Ibaka was traded to the Toronto Raptors during the 2017 February draft pick. On November 4th, 2018, the player made his first 14 shots on the way to 34 points, beating his previous record of 31 points. In his sixth straight double-double Ibaka recorded 16 points and 12 points against the Los Angeles Clippers. In June of 2019, Ibaka played a vital role in helping the Toronto Raptors claim their championship title against the Golden State Warriors. Ibaka is a surge (no pun intended) of energy both on and off the court, where he expresses himself not only in his game, but reflects his energy in his relationship with his teammates, his fashion sense, and his Youtube cooking show.