Serge Ibaka: From the NBA to FC Bayern and Beyond

He is the super star of the Easycredit Basketball Bundesliga: Bavaria’s Serge Ibaka (34). He won the NBA title with the Toronta Raptors in 2019, as well as Olympic silver with Spain in 2012. And the 2.10 meter giant is also the top favorite for the title with the Munich team.

Ibaka makes music, makes cooking videos and has supermodel Cindy Bruna (29) as a girlfriend. He almost never gives interviews…

Ibaka now made an exception for the “Sergios Corner” format from TV partner Dyn. And spoke to former BBL professional Sergio Kerusch (35) for 15 minutes about his beginnings in the Congo, his father, the transition to European basketball and the Oktoberfest. He also reveals why he ended up at FC Bayern…

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Serge Ibaka: That’s why I ended up at FC Bayern Basketball

“Last summer I was at home, working out, getting in shape and waiting for the NBA to start. Then I got a call from my agent,” says Ibaka. “He said: ‘Hey, listen, there’s someone who wants to talk to you. I’m sure you know him.’ When I asked who it was, he just replied: ‘Pablo’. When he said the name, I knew what was going on.”

Ibaka worked for a few months at Real Madrid under current Bayern coach Pablo Laso (56) during the NBA lockout in 2011. “I wasn’t sure, but I couldn’t say no. I knew Pablo. I had fun with him in Madrid. And I have great respect for Pablo. Many coaches had tried to just talk to me, but I didn’t want to waste their time. But when it was Pablo, I thought: It’s him! He’s the person I know.”

Shortly afterwards, Laso called Ibaka. “He started talking to me. And he changed my mind. He really changed my mind! Also because I knew him.”

The transition to European basketball was initially a challenge. “You can’t hide here. In defense everyone has to contribute and cover a man. And everyone has a job on offense too. When I came here I was a bit out of shape. I thought: Damn, whoohoo! After two minutes I was done! You can’t stop, you can’t take a breather. Everyone moves, everyone contributes, you can’t take a break.”

But Ibaka was particularly fond of the games in the Euroleague. “The Euroleague is fun. The competition is tough, it’s not easy. It’s beautiful basketball to watch, and also to play. This is pure basketball.”

Laso is increasingly using his super star in the premier class. And Ibaka also shines there with better numbers than in the Bundesliga (13/9.6 points per game, 6.7/5.6 rebounds, 1.3/1.1 blocks).

With the siren! Wild Niners three-pointer in the last second

Those: DYN MEDIA 11.02.2024

“Oktoberfest was cool”

Ibaka also enjoyed Oktoberfest in Munich. “It was cool. It was so much fun. That was different. I have never experienced anything like this in my entire life. So many people, in the same place, at the same time, just having fun and enjoying life.”

There were also quiet tones in the interview at times. For example, when Ibaka talked about his father, Desire. “My father always took me to his training and I watched. Training took place outside. In Africa it is different than here. That’s how it all started.”

His mother, Amadou Djonga, played for the Democratic Republic of Congo national team. She died when Ibaka was eight years old. The third youngest of 18 (!) siblings not only inherited his passion for basketball from his father, but also for cooking. “He always cooked when I was young. And I watched him. I get my inspiration for cooking from my father.”

His father later made a living as a dock worker. Ibaka grew up without electricity or running water. But made it to the top in basketball! His advice to young players: “You have to sacrifice today so that you can live tomorrow. Neither works. If you give up something today, you will have it later in the long run. If you want to make it, you have to focus on your craft. Focus on the moment, be willing to sacrifice something – and things will happen. Laying the foundation is key.”

2024-02-11 12:10:20
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