NBA Star Serge Ibaka Shares His Life Through Film
OKLAHOMA CITY — Sitting on stage Saturday in Oklahoma City, Serge Ibaka stared out into the 3,000-seat auditorium, searching for his teammates.
“Son of the Congo,” a 55-minute documentary about his life produced by Grantland and ESPN Films, had just finished screening at a red carpet premiere, and Ibaka was individually thanking each of his teammates for coming.
“Everything was difficult, showing where I come from,” Ibaka said. “Right now, my life is good. I don’t need to try to show people where I come from. I could say, ‘Yeah, I grew up good,’ like most people say. We forget where we come from because the actual life, I’m good. You see me wearing a nice suit now. But it was hard, it was really hard, showing where I come from. You see my room, you saw my bed, my daughter, my story, everything. But I think it can help people. It can help people to appreciate all the little things we have in life.”
The documentary went online Monday at Grantland, and will air on April 17 on ESPN. It focuses on Ibaka’s remarkable journey from Congo to the NBA, and what it’s like for him to return home. It was filmed over nine days last July and gives an inside look into Ibaka’s personal life and upbringing.
“It was a great documentary,” Russell Westbrook said. “Great to get a chance to see Serge in a different space, if people didn’t know him to get an opportunity to see how he’s become the man he’s become today.”
One of the biggest revelations in the film is that Ibaka has a 9-year-old daughter, named Ranie, who he was only told about by his father when she was 5 years old.