Serge Ibaka decided to leave the NBA after 14 years and return to the EuroLeague, where he briefly played in the 2011-12 season. Thus, he signed with Bayern Munich and will now reunite with his then head coach Pablo Laso, who returned to the competition after an one-year absence and took over the Bavarians.
Ibaka spoke with the German media in Munich during his official presentation on Thursday and named coach Laso as a major reason for his return to the EuroLeague.
“He’s a great coach and a great person, most importantly. At this point in my career, it’s important for me who I’m working [with]. I try to have fun working with a good person. At the end of the day, basketball is just a game, we play for fun,” Serge Ibaka said, via Basketnews.
“Life is more than basketball. At this point in my life where I am right now, it’s important to know where I’m going. To spend one year working and making all the sacrifices, I need to make sure I’m working for a good person. This is Pablo. When you’re talking about Coach, I love his style. When he called me, I took my time to think about it, but I didn’t have [any] doubts about the basketball style. I want to enjoy it,” he added.
The 14-year veteran also said that he is preparing for the start of the season, but will need some time to build chemistry with his teammates.
“Physically, I’m in a great place. I’ve been working [for] the last 7-8 months. The only thing that was missing was team basketball, playing [in] competitions, playing five-on-five. Physically, I’m 100% good. I’ll need more time to get adjusted to play five-on-five and be part of my teammates and their new style. This is going to come, this is normal, it happens to everybody. The most important [thing is that] I’m healthy and I’m ready to go,” Serge Ibaka said.
Serge Ibaka had averages of 5.5 ppg and 4.7 rpg in six EuroLeague games with Real Madrid back in 2011. He is now set for his return to the competition, which could happen as early as the season opener and the clash with rivals ALBA Berlin (Thursday, October 5).