Congolese born basketball professional Serge Ibaka made history in 2008 when he became the first player from his home country to be drafted by an NBA team. He then had an illustrious 7-year stint with Oklahoma City Thunder, followed by a 9-month stint with Orlando Magic. The talented player joined the Toronto Raptors mid-season in February 2017.
Other highlights of his career include Serge Ibaka’s block-leading role in the NBA for two consecutive seasons and three appointments to the NBA’s All-Defensive First Team. On an international level, he plays for the Spanish national team, with which he won a silver medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Serge Ibaka’s Bio
Serge Jonas Ibaka Ngobila was born on September 18, 1989, in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo. His parents are Amadou and Desiree Ibaka, who were both professional basketball players in their prime. His family is relatively large, as he has a total of 17 siblings. His mother died when he was very young and his father was imprisoned as a political prisoner during the second Congo war. To escape the tragedies in his life, the young Serge Ibaka started playing basketball in a club called Avenir du Rail. The talented young man also made it into the youth team of his home country Congo.
At the age of 17, Ibaka moved to France, where he played for a short time for a second division basketball club. He then moved to Spain, where he had a brilliant 2007-08 season with second-division club CB L’Hospitalet. In the 2008 post-season, he played in a number of international showcases, and thanks to his impressive performance he attracted the attention of several NBA scouts.
Serge Ibaka was ranked 24th by the Seattle SuperSonics in the first round of the 2008 NBA Draft, and his selection was a historic one as he became the first player from the Republic of Congo to join the NBA. Six days after the draft, the Sonics were replaced in the NBA by the Oklahoma City Thunder when the team moved from Seattle, Washington to Oklahoma City.
The Thunder decided to keep Ibaka in Spain and signed a 3-year contract with the League ACB basketball club Ricoh Manresa with the option to leave the team at the end of each season. In his first and only season with the team, the talented player averaged 7.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, and one block in 16 minutes per game. At the end of the 2008-09 season, Oklahoma City facilitated Thunder Ibaka’s return to the NBA by paying his buyout and also signing a two-year contract with him.
NBA Career Stats
In his first season in the NBA, Serge Ibaka completed 73 missions and averaged 18.1 minutes, 6.3 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per game. In the 2009-10 season, he scored the most blocks on average among all newcomers. In the following season, his goalie average increased to 9.9 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks per game. During the 2011 NBA lockout, Ibaka moved to Spain where he did a short stint with the Spanish basketball team Real Madrid Baloncesto. After the end of the lockout, he returned to the NBA.
Ibaka took part in all 66 games of the shortened 2011-12 season and had the highest average in the league with 3.6 blocks per game. In the 2012-13 season, he averaged 13.2 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 3.0 blocks per game, leading the league. In the 2013-14 season, he exceeded his previous performance, averaging 15.1 points and 8.8 rebounds per game and also achieving the highest total number of blocks in the league (219). He also averaged 12.2 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks per game in the 2014 playoffs, and his performance earned him the third consecutive NBA All-Defensive First Team selection (2012-14).
In a 2014-15 season due to injury, Serge Ibaka averaged 14.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks per game. In a regular-season 2015-16, in which he averaged 12.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks per game, he did not fare any better. His 7 season career with Oklahoma City Thunder ended in June 2016 when he was transferred to Orlando Magic in exchange for Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova, and 2016 drafted Domantas Sabonis.
Ibaka made a total of 56 appearances for the Orlando Magic during the 2016-17 season, which represents an average career-high of 15.1 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per game. In February 2017 he was traded to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for Terrence Ross and a subsequent draft pick in the first round. For the rest of the 2016-17 season, he had 23 bets for the Raptors with an average of 14.2 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks per game.
The 2017-18 regular season was Serge Ibaka’s first full season with the Raptors, averaging 12.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per game.
Relationship With Keri Hilson, Is He Married?
For some reason, Serge Ibaka’s most famous romantic relationship was with the singer, songwriter, and actress Keri Hilson. The celebrity duo got back together in 2012, and after two years together, they separated for the first time in early 2014. Despite the separation, they did not stay apart for too long when the beautiful couple reunited in April 2014.
After two more years of dating, Ibaka and Keri Hilson separated again in November 2016, bringing their four-year romance to a final end. No reasons were given for either separation, but in media circles accusations of fraud were raised.
For the time being, Serge Ibaka is still unmarried. However, it is uncertain whether the NBA star is single. At the beginning of 2018, he was associated with reality TV star Angela Simmons, but the fate of this alleged romance remains largely unknown.
Serge Ibaka’s Daughter
Serge Ibaka has a teenage daughter named Ranie Ibaka. She was born in the Republic of Congo, a few months after her now-famous father left the country. Interestingly, Serge was not informed about the birth of his child until the age of 8. Apparently, his family decided not to inform him for fear that he would abandon his budding career and return to the country. His father Desiree Ibaka took care of the child’s upkeep during his absence. Serge Ibaka has since connected with his daughter, which gives him ample opportunity to make up for the lost time.