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421px-Serge Ibaka

Serge

Ibaka (Left) in action for the Oklahoma City Thunder

No. 9 - Oklahoma City Thunder
Position Power forward / Center
League NBA
Personal information
Born (1989-09-18) 18 September 1989 (age 23)

Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo

Nationality Congolese / Spanish
Listed height 6 ft 10 in (2.08 m)
Listed weight 235 lb (107 kg)
Career infornation
NBA Draft 2008 / Round: 1 / Pick: 24th overall
Selected by the Seattle SuperSonics
Pro playing career 2007–present
Career History
2007–2008 CB L'Hospitalet (Spain)
2008–2009 Ricoh Manresa (Spain)
2009–present Oklahoma City Thunder
2011 Real Madrid (Spain)
Career Highlights and awards
  • NBA All-Defensive First Team (20122013)
  • NBA blocks leader (20122013)
Stats at NBA.com
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com
Men's Basketball
Competitor for  Spain
Olympic Games
Silver 2012 London Men's basketball
FIBA European Championship
Gold 2011 Lithuania Men's basketball

Serge Jonas Ibaka Ngobila (born 18 September 1989), commonly referred to as Serge Ibaka, is a Congolese-Spanish professional basketball player who plays the power forward position for the Oklahoma City Thunder of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Ibaka was drafted by the Thunder's former incarnation, the Seattle SuperSonics with the 24th overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. He is referred to as Air Congo, Serge Protector, and Iblocka by his teammates, in reference to his shot-blocking skills. Serge is the third youngest among eighteen siblings.Although born in the Republic of the Congo, Ibaka represents Spain in international competition as he moved there as a teenager before joining the NBA. He is widely regarded as one of the best power forwards and one of the best shot-blockers in the NBA. Jump to: navigation, search

Contents

[hide] *1 Early life

Early life

Ibaka was born in Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo. Both his mother and his father were basketball players. His father played at the Republic of Congo and with the Congolese national team, and his mother played for the Democratic Republic of Congo. He started playing basketball at a very young age with his first club, Avenir du Rail, using the sport as an escape amongst his mother's untimely death and his father's imprisonment during the Second Congo War.

Ibaka moved to Spain as a young teenager and soon found himself playing with several junior basketball clubs, most notably CB L'Hospitalt, with which he won several tournaments.

NBA career

Transition to the NBA

He was selected by the Seattle SuperSonics with the 24th pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. He became the first player from the Republic of Congo to be selected in the draft, although the Oklahoma City Thunder (the team that inherited the Sonics' place in the NBA six days after the draft) agreed to keep him in Europe. He then signed a three-year contract with Ricoh Manresa from the ACB League in Spain, keeping the option to leave for the NBA after each season. In the ACB, he averaged 7.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 1 block in 16 minutes per game.

In July 2009, the Oklahoma City Thunder paid the buyout, and signed him to a two-year contract with two more optional seasons.

Ibaka, who spoke no English when he first arrived in the NBA, depended on the help of summer league teammate Moses Ehambe to translate for him. After a lengthy, dedicated year of learning English in addition to the NBA game, Ibaka speaks five languages: Lingala (Ibaka's tribal language), French (the official language of Congo), English, Catalan, and Spanish.

Oklahoma City Thunder (2009–present)

Although coming to the NBA as a raw talent, Ibaka has managed to become a starter in the Thunder rotation. Ibaka is often used for his energy in the paint, whether on defense or rebounding. In his first NBA season, Ibaka played 18.1 minutes per game in 73 games, averaging 6.3 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game. His blocks average led all rookies in the 2009–2010 season, and he ranked number 20 overall. In the first round of the playoffs against the Los Angeles Lakers, he played in 6 games, averaging 25.5 minutes, 7.8 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2 blocks per game. His 7 blocks in game two in Los Angeles was a record (youngest player to have 7 blocks in playoff game).

On 19 February 2011, Serge Ibaka participated in the 2011 NBA Slam Dunk Contest. He began the contest with a free-throw line dunk. In the second round, Ibaka grabbed a stuffed animal from the rim with his mouth and dunked in one motion. However, he lost out to Blake Griffin in the competition.

During 2011 NBA lockout he signed a two-month contract with Real Madrid in Spain alongside Spain national basketball team teammate and friend Rudy Fernández with an option to return to the NBA at the end of the lockout. Over 6 games in the Euroleague, he averaged 5.5 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2 blocks in 15 minutes per game.

After the lockout, Ibaka returned to the NBA after playing in Spain. On 19 February 2012, he recorded his first career triple-double against the Denver Nuggets, scoring 14 points, grabbing 15 rebounds and getting a career-high 11 blocks.  He played all 66 games in the shortened season as a starter, averaging the most blocks in the league, 3.6 per game. In voting for the Defensive Player of the Year, he finished second behind Tyson Chandler of the New York Knicks. In Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals against the San Antonio Spurs, Ibaka went 11–11 from the field.

In August 2012, Ibaka signed a four-year deal worth $48 million with the Thunder.

During the 2012-13 NBA season, Ibaka upped his scoring average from 9.1 to 13.2. He also averaged 7.7 rebounds, and a league-leading 3.0 blocks. For his defensive efforts, Ibaka finished 3rd in Defensive Player of the Year voting, behind LeBron James and the winner, Marc Gasol. In the playoffs, the Thunder beat the Houston Rockets in 6 games, but fell to the Memphis Grizzlies in five games. Ibaka averaged 12.8 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 3 blocks in the postseason but shot only .437% from the field, a near .14% drop off from his regular season field goal percentage of .573%.

Spanish national team

Internationally, Ibaka expressed an early desire to play for the Spain national basketball team. After years living in the country he was finally granted Spanish citizenship on 15 July 2011. His team won the gold medal in the Eurobasket 2011, beating France in the final by a score of 98–85. He won a silver medal with Spain at the 2012 Summer Olympics.

NBA career statistics

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game Bold Career high
Led the league

Regular season

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2009–10 Oklahoma City 73 0 18.1 .543 .500 .630 5.4 .1 .3 1.3 6.3
2010–11 Oklahoma City 82 44 27.0 .543 .000 .750 7.6 .3 .4 2.4 9.9
2011–12 Oklahoma City 66 66 27.2 .535 .333 .661 7.5 .4 .5 3.7[17] 9.1
2012–13 Oklahoma City 80 80 31.1 .573 .351 .749 7.7 .5 .4 3.0 13.2
Career 301 190 26.0 .552 .349 .713 7.1 .3 .4 2.6 9.7

Playoffs

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
2010 Oklahoma City 6 0 25.5 .571 .000 .700 6.5 .3 .3 2.0 7.8
2011 Oklahoma City 17 17 28.8 .462 .000 .825 7.3 .2 .2 3.1 9.8
2012 Oklahoma City 20 20 28.4 .528 .250 .722 5.8 .6 .6 3.0 9.8
2013 Oklahoma City 11 11 33.3 .437 .444 .792 8.4 .7 .0 3.0 12.8
Career 54 48 29.2 .485 .357 .773 6.9 .5 .3 2.9 10.2