It’s fashion and basketball for Clippers’ Serge Ibaka

When the Los Angeles Clippers made the addition of 31-year-old big man Serge Ibaka in the offseason, they knew they were adding not only a championship player but one with a whole lot of style.

The former Toronto Raptor, who played alongside Kawhi Leonard in that magical postseason run during the 2018-2019 season, is known to have a flair for his fashionable outfit choices when coming into the stadium pre-game.

Los Angeles Clippers center Serge Ibaka playing defense in the team’s 108-100 win at STAPLES Center. Photo by Sammy Saludo/News4usonline

Most notable at times is his use of scarves, which includes a giant Burberry cashmere scarf that went viral. This assortment of scarves has become a marque piece of attire for the Republic of Congo native, as he now has over 60 in his vast collection, including a few Louis Vuitton ones for any spur of the moment outings.

As a man who considers himself an artist, not a fashionista, Ibaka is not shy when it comes to his outfit choices. During an interview with GQ fashion magazine, the center shared his thoughts on what sets him apart as best dressed.

“It’s about having a free mind. You have to create. You have to inspire. When it’s time to dress, I have to think. I have to envision myself in a certain outfit. The night before, when I go to bed, I close my eyes and start thinking about the outfit I’m going to wear tomorrow: all the colors, the fabrics, how it’s going to look. It’s about putting the whole thing together. It’s about the way you walk. The way you talk. Your confidence. It’s art,” said Ibaka.

Embed from Getty Images

This passion for art as he calls it has translated into a hosting gig with Uninterrupted called Avec Classe on YouTube, where the big man brings in teammates to his favorite clothing spot in Toronto, Holt Renfrew, and helps them step up their style.

When being visited by one of his teammates, Ibaka talked about what sets him apart from the rest in the fashion world.

“I don’t do drip, or money, or fashion. I do art,” says Ibaka.

During his time with the Raptors, Ibaka brought in teammates such as OG Anunoby, Fred VanVleet, and Marc Gasol to visit his second playground. Only time will tell when the first invite to some of his new teammates are sent out.

In his 12th season in the league, the Clippers are the fourth team that Ibaka has played for in an outstanding career for the veteran which includes being voted onto the league’s all-defensive team three times.

During his introductory press conference, Clippers President of Basketball Operations Lawrence Frank reiterated how ecstatic the team was in signing a skilled player such as Ibaka.

Center Serge Ibaka has been a welcming presence for the Los Angeles Clippers thus far this season. Ibaka grabs a rebound during the Clippers' 124-101 win against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2020. Photo by Melinda Meijer for News4usonline
Center Serge Ibaka has been a welcoming presence for the Los Angeles Clippers thus far this season. Ibaka grabs a rebound during the Clippers’ 124-101 win against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2020. Photo by Melinda Meijer for News4usonline

“We are thrilled to have Serge, a proven veteran with NBA championship experience, joining the Clippers,” said Frank. “His offensive versatility and defensive intensity will fit in well with this team.”

After being drafted by the then Seattle Supersonics in 2008, Ibaka spent half a season with the Orlando Magic before being traded to the Toronto Raptors during the 2017 season.

Ending last season with a career-high in points per game (15.4), Ibaka’s ability to stretch the position has contributed to him being one of the best power forward’s over the last decade.

His ability to play lockdown defense and pose a threat on the offensive side of the court has led him to be the only player in NBA history to rack up over 1,500 blocks and 500 made three-pointers over the span of their career.

The decision to come sign with the Clippers started with a simple question from his former teammate. While on vacation, Ibaka received a text from Kawhi making one request, “are you coming or not?” read the message. In the most Kawhi way possible, The Claw’s pitch was the one that sealed the deal.

Los Angeles Clippers center Serge Ibaka for the dunk
Los Angeles Clippers center Serge Ibaka (9) throws it down for two points against the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday, Dec. 29, 2020. The Clippers defeated the Timberwolves, 124-101 at STAPLES Center. Photo by Melinda Meijer for News4usonline

Having a familiar face on the team helped assure Ibaka of his decision to come to Los Angeles as he addressed his choice to join the team.

“Of course, having Kawhi here really helped a lot in my decision to come here,” said Ibaka. “I think we just understand each other, Kawhi is the type of person that you get to know him personally to understand.”

In what was one of their first games together as Clippers, some friendly fire resulted in Kawhi needing eight stitches as he took an elbow to the face from the 6’ 10” 235-pound forward.

This resulted in Leonard jokingly ask for Ibaka to be traded, as he was punished by having to wear a protective mask for the next few weeks due to the injury.

“Serge can’t talk too much,” said Leonard. “We got him on the trading block right now. Whoever wants him, let us know.”

Embed from Getty Images

While the banter early in the season is all fun and games, the team knows it has something to prove after last year’s horrific meltdown in the playoffs while in the bubble.

With the addition of a proven champion like Ibaka, the Clippers can only hope that his stylish presence will also lift those around him. As the season progresses the 31-year-old veteran will only continue to make his presence felt on the team.

Through the team’s first 22 games of the season, the forward has brought his steady play over from the Great White North, as he has averaged 12.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks while averaging 24.6 minutes a game.

While his passion for basketball and fashion is undoubted, remembering where he came from has always been key to Ibaka. Growing up in the impoverished nation of Congo, the ability to give back to his home country is of great importance to the native.

He created the Serge Ibaka Foundation whose mission is to inspire children around the world to believe in themselves no matter what circumstances or obstacles they may be challenged with.

Editor’s note: Featured image of Los Angeles Clippers center Serge Ibaka (9) attempting to block a shot attempt by Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (2) during an NBA Western Conference game played at STAPLES Center on Jan. 24, 2021. Photo credit: Sammy Saludo/News4usonline  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *