Serge Ibaka is a Congolese professional basketball player who currently plays power forward for the Toronto Raptors of the National Basketball Association. Ibaka was born in Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of the Congo on September 18th, 1989. His parents were both basketball players, which sparked a passion in a young Serge for the game of basketball. While living in the Republic of the Congo Ibaka faced many adversities that shaped him into the player and global citizen he is today. In his youth, the Congo went through a civil war and It was during these trying times that Ibaka turned to basketball as an outlet. Already established as one of the top players in the NBA after seven seasons, Ibaka’s chief mission is to use his platform as a basketball player to have an impact off the court, and specifically help the children of the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo, where his mother was born.
Ibaka began playing organized basketball for Avenir Rail in the Republic of Congo. Soon after starring for Avenir Rail, Ibaka played professionally in Spain for CB L’Hospitalet where he garnered the attention of NBA scouts. In the 2008 NBA Draft the Seattle Super Sonics (now the Oklahoma City Thunder) selected Ibaka with the 24th pick of the draft. Serge Ibaka has been an NBA All-Defensive First Team member three times, a league leader in blocks three times and a participant in the 2011 NBA Slam Dunk Contest. After 7 seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Ibaka was traded to the Orlando Magic during the 2016 summer. In February, 2017, he was traded again, this time to the Toronto Raptors.
Outside of basketball, Serge Ibaka is committed to helping those in need through the Serge Ibaka Foundation. Ibaka was largely molded by his experiences of growing up in an unstable and war torn Republic of Congo. Ibaka has not forgotten his roots and seeks to use his platform as a NBA star to better his home country and the world. He is a UNICEF ambassador in the Congo and developed a project to renovate one all boys orphanage and one all girls orphanage in the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo by providing these orphanages with educational and healthcare supplies and by renovating their respective facilities. The projects of the Serge Ibaka Foundation include continuing the work with UNICEF and other organizations like Starkey Hearing Foundation, with whom he partnered in the summer of 2014 and 2016 to provide hearing aids to children in Brazzaville. Because of his vast service and charitable efforts Ibaka was awarded the Kia Community Assist Award for the month of April in 2014 and attended the Clinton Global Citizen Awards in September of 2014. Serge joined the board of the Foundation in March of 2017.