Shortly after his arrival, Serge Ibaka enjoyed Bavarian culture at the Oktoberfest. “Cheers,” said the basketball star into the camera, held up the beer mug and took a (small) sip of beer.
The Munich Oktoberfest was a fitting opportunity for FC Bayern’s new signing to arrive at the club. And he transported the pictures from the tent to Instagram.
Ibaka, 34, is the most prominent newcomer to the cup winners. But the fact that he is there has a lot to do with another prominent newcomer. Successful coach Pablo Laso, who succeeded Andrea Trinchieri after three years, once worked with the former NBA professional during his time at Real Madrid. “It was lucky that Pablo knew him,” says managing director Marko Pesic about the coup with Ibaka.
BBL: Pablo Laso brings a “breath of fresh air” to FC Bayern
The “Big Man”, born in the Republic of Congo, was a Spanish national player and was under contract in the NBA for 14 years. First with the Oklahoma City Thunder, later with the Orlando Magic, then with the Toronto Raptors, with whom he became champion in 2019.
The 213 meter tall Ibaka most recently played for the Milwaukee Bucks, but hardly had any appearances. After a trade to the Indiana Pacers in February, the end quickly came.
Now the restart – at Bayern. Ibaka is a player “with a lot of experience, incredible quality,” emphasizes Pesic. When he heard about the possibility of getting it, he thought “they’re joking,” said Pesic. But the professional was “very, very interested” and also had “a girlfriend who lives in Europe”.
Bayern also brought in a big name for the sidelines. Laso, who led the Royals from Madrid to 22 titles in eleven years in his native Spain, “has brought in a breath of fresh air,” says Pesic: “He is a personality who will look good in the league.”
BBL: FC Bayern starts on Friday
The highly decorated Laso was released because things weren’t going any further at Real. In the summer of the previous year, the coach was fired “for medical reasons”. The Basque had previously suffered a heart attack during the play-offs in the ACB league. Now the 55-year-old is taking on a new, exciting task.
Among other things, he is allowed to coach three world champions alongside Ibaka and returning Devin Booker. Andreas Obst, Isaac Bonga and Niels Giffey are back in the Bundesliga a good two and a half weeks after the triumph in Manila, on Friday (8:00 p.m. / Dyn) against Syntainics MBC.
And then the fans can admire something new apart from the staff. Bayern are the first club to play in a league game on a video glass floor. Lines, animations and graphics are displayed via LED. “We are very, very excited. I think it’s a great story,” says Pesic.
Munich is playing its final season at BMW Park in the Sendling-Westpark district. The move to the SAP Garden, which is currently under construction, will take place next year. Before that, you have to achieve goals. After the clean exit in the play-off semi-finals against eventual champions Ulm and the weak EuroLeague season, more is needed.
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