Sat, 16/09/23, 15:00
NBA champion for Munich: Serge Ibaka joins Bayern
Roughly two weeks before the start of the season, FC Bayern Basketball has completed their roster, and it's quite spectacular: The long-time NBA center and power forward Serge Ibaka, aged 33, who played a crucial role in the 2019 championship with the Toronto Raptors, has signed a contract for the upcoming season with the German Cup winners. The 2.08-meter powerhouse arrived in Munich on Friday morning, successfully underwent all medical checks, and finalized his commitment with a handshake with club president Herbert Hainer in the evening on the sidelines of the Bundesliga match against Bayer 04 Leverkusen.
Ibaka, a Spanish national team player with Congolese roots, will already meet head coach Pablo Laso and his new team at the "MagentaSport Cup" in the Munich BMW Park on Saturday and Sunday. He was last under contract with the Milwaukee Bucks before parting ways at the beginning of the year.
Over 14 years, the 2008 NBA Draft 24th pick had a total of 919 appearances in the NBA regular season, averaging twelve points and 7.1 rebounds. Additionally, he played 152 playoff games. He was twice the overseas leader in shot-blocking and was selected three times for the All-Defensive First Team.
Serge Ibaka already had an extensive individual training session on Saturday and stated beforehand: "For me, it is a privilege to join this historic, globally renowned sports club, so that the basketball team can rise to the top of Europe. I had a long NBA career, but I approach this new chapter with a lot of enthusiasm – I still have a lot of fire in me and love the game. The fact that Pablo Laso is the coach was also a decisive factor for me. To me, he is one of the best coaches in the world."
Club President Herbert Hainer, who had an extensive exchange with Ibaka on Friday evening, said, "We are incredibly proud and happy that such a highly decorated athlete like Serge Ibaka believes in our journey. We are convinced that he will not only be a tremendous asset in terms of sports but also a enrichment for German basketball. I am certain that our young players will greatly benefit from his vast experience."
Champion in 2019 with Toronto, 1071 NBA appearances
Serge Ibaka, born in the Congolese capital of Brazzaville, moved to Europe at the age of 17. His athleticism and impressive shooting touch for a tall big man (all-time three-point shooting percentage: 36%) quickly caught the attention in the second Spanish league. The (then) Seattle SuperSonics selected the teenager in the first round as the 24th pick. Ibaka stayed one more season in his adopted home of Spain, spending the 2008/2009 season with Manresa in the ACB, before embarking on his long NBA journey.
He played seven years for the Oklahoma City Thunder, where he soon worked his way up to become a starter. He averaged approximately 30 minutes per game for the Thunder, and in the 2013/2014 season, his scoring average increased to 15.1 points with a 54% shooting percentage and 8.8 rebounds.
This phase was only interrupted by the 2011 lockout when Ibaka returned to Spain for two months – to Real Madrid, coached by Pablo Laso. In that same year, Ibaka also made his debut with the Spanish national team, achieving success at the 2011 European Championship and winning an Olympic silver medal in 2012.
"This documents the credibility of our program"
Sport Director Daniele Baiesi says "Serge's career speaks for itself. With him, we get size, the ability to open up the court, and a huge presence on and off the field. Without a doubt, this is a very prestigious transfer and demonstrates the credibility of our program."
In 2016, his time in the NBA with Oklahoma came to an end with a trade to Orlando, and in February 2017, he moved to Toronto. In his four seasons there, his average was below the 15-point mark only once, culminating in June 2019 when they defeated Golden State in six final games to claim the first NBA title for the Canadian franchise.
Like Kawhi Leonard, he moved to Los Angeles to join the Clippers in the fall of 2020, but in his second year there, he was slowed down by a back surgery. In Milwaukee, the Bucks didn't fully utilize Ibaka's abilities over the past two years, which led to a buyout at the beginning of 2023; an engagement with the Indiana Pacers did not materialize.
Serge Ibaka, a father of a daughter, has been involved as a board member of the charity organization of the NBA Players Association since 2017.
SERGE IBAKA (ESP/COD) *18. September 1989, Brazzaville)
Center, Power Forward – 2,08m – 107 kg
2006 – 2007: Inter Club Brazzaville
2007 – 2008: CB L’Hospitalet (ESP 2)
2008 – 2009: Basquet Manresa (ACB)
2009 – 2016: Oklahoma City Thunder (NBA)
10/2011 – 12/2011: Real Madrid (ACB)
2016 – 2017: Orlando Magic (NBA)
2017 – 2020: Toronto Raptors (NBA)
2020 – 2022: Los Angeles Clippers (NBA)
2022 – 2023: Milwaukee Bucks (NBA)
NBA Champion 2019
Silver Medal Olympic Games 2012
Winner EuroBasket 2011
NBA All-Defensive First Team 2012, 2013, 2014
NBA Blocks leader 2012, 2013