Serge Jonas Ibaka Ngobila (born September 18, 1989) is a Congolese-Spanish professional basketball player for the Orlando Magic of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Ibaka was drafted by the Oklahoma City Thunder's former incarnation, the Seattle SuperSonics with the 24th overall pick in the 2008 NBA draft. Although born in the Republic of the Congo (and having played for the Republic of Congo youth team), Ibaka officially represents Spain in international competition, as he moved there as a teenager before joining the NBA (making him one of only three active NBA players, the other two being Roy Hibbert and Charlie Villanueva, to have played for more than one national team).
Ibaka was born in Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo and is the third-youngest of 18 children.Both his mother and his father were basketball players. His father played at the Republic of Congo and with the Congolese national team, and his mother played for the Democratic Republic of Congo. He started playing basketball at a very young age with his first club, Avenir du Rail, using the sport as an escape amongst his mother's untimely death and his father's imprisonment during the Second Congo War. (His father had taken his family away from their home to escape the war, but found himself on the wrong side of the battle-line and was held as a political prisoner upon their return.)
Ibaka moved to France at the age of 17 and joined a second division basketball team before moving to Spain, where he taught himself Spanish. In Spain he soon found himself playing with second division basketball club CB L'Hospitalet. He averaged 10.8 points and 8.2 rebounds and shot 55%.In 2008 he entered several international showcases, picking up an MVP award at the Reebok Eurocamp, where he also found himself being noticed by NBA scouts. An NBA scout at one of the camps said that "athletically he's off the charts—there's no telling how good he can be".
During the 2012–13 NBA season, Ibaka upped his scoring average from 9.1 to 13.2. He also averaged 7.7 rebounds, and a league-leading 3.0 blocks. For his defensive efforts, Ibaka finished 3rd in Defensive Player of the Year voting, behind LeBron James and the winner, Marc Gasol. In the playoffs, the Thunder beat the Houston Rockets in 6 games, but fell to the Memphis Grizzlies in five games. Ibaka averaged 12.8 points, 8.4 rebounds, and 3 blocks in the postseason but shot only 43.7% from the field, a near 14% drop off from his regular season field goal percentage of 57.3%.
In 2013–14, Ibaka averaged career-highs of 15.1 points and 8.8 rebounds per game, and led the league in total blocks (219) for the fourth straight season. In a series-clinching win over the Los Angeles Clippers in the conference semi-finals, Ibaka suffered a left calf injury that was expected to sideline him for the remainder of the 2014 playoffs. However, he made his return in Game 3 against San Antonio Spurs in the Conference Finals. The Thunder eventually fell to the Spurs in six games as Ibaka averaged 12.2 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.4 blocks throughout the playoffs. Ibaka was also named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team for the third consecutive year.
On February 19, 2015, Ibaka recorded 21 points and a career-high 22 rebounds in the 104-89 win over the Dallas Mavericks. On March 17, 2015, he was ruled out for four to six weeks after undergoing arthroscopic surgery to address right knee soreness.
On January 4, 2016, Ibaka scored a season-high 25 points in a loss to the Sacramento Kings.
On June 23, 2016, Ibaka was traded to the Orlando Magic in exchange for Victor Oladipo, Ersan İlyasova and the draft rights to Domantas Sabonis, the 11th pick of the 2016 NBA draft.
Internationally, Ibaka expressed an early desire to play for the Spain national basketball team. After years living in the country, he was finally granted Spanish citizenship on July 15, 2011. His team won the gold medal in the Eurobasket 2011, beating France in the final by a score of 98–85. He won a silver medal with Spain at the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Ibaka speaks four languages: Lingala (spoken mainly in Congo-Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Angola), French (the official language of Congo), English and Spanish.
Ibaka has a daughter, Ranie, who was born when he was still a teenager, shortly after he had left Congo-Brazzaville. Ibaka's younger brother, Igor, currently plays basketball for Oklahoma State.