Serge Ibaka shouts out Raptors, calls city of Toronto “home”

Serge Ibaka - Toronto Raptors (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Serge Ibaka - Toronto Raptors (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

Former Toronto Raptors center Serge Ibaka seems to be aware of the fact that the end of his basketball career is rapidly approaching. After playing just 16 games for the Milwaukee Bucks and averaging 4.1 points per game, he is starting to get nostalgic when discussing his career as a whole.

While Ibaka played seven seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder and led the league in blocks twice, many fans’ most vibrant memories of him are as a key big man on the Toronto Raptors. After coming to town following the Terrence Ross trade, Ibaka became a perfect role player for what Nick Nurse needed.

Ibaka has become one of the more beloved role players in Raptors history, as his jovial attitude, willingness to get chippy in support of his teammates, and production in bog moments helped endear him to this fanbase. According to Ibaka himself, the feeling is mutual.

Ibaka said that Toronto “feels like home” every time he goes back and expressed his gratitude for the love and support that he receives when he goes back. Raptors fans are nothing if not loyal, and they will never forget what a key player Ibaka was on those dominant teams.

Serge Ibaka shouts out Raptors, city of Toronto.

Ibaka averaged 14.2 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game with the Raptors, serving as both an elite Sixth Man and a key starter who provided consistent two-way play. The Raptors may not have slowed down the Warriors’ salvo without his abilities in the paint.

Before the Raptors signed Garrett Temple to fill out their final guaranteed roster spot, the idea of bringing Ibaka back to be a veteran mentor and leader that operates as an extra coach may have appealed to some. Scottie Barnes and Christian Koloko could benefit from some Ibaka lessons.

Ibaka seems to be much more complementary of his time with the Raptors than he was with his Bucks tenure. Due to what he called a lack of communication and frustrations with his role as a seldom-used bench player, Milwuakee’s wins could not placate Ibaka.

Ibaka may not be a future Hall of Famer, and there are a dozen players who have had better careers with the Raptors, but all but a handful of players would kill for the ability to be adored and beloved by this fanbase in the same way Ibaka is.

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