Serge Ibaka broke new ground the Oklahoma City Thunder.
While teammates Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook get most of the attention from the media, it was the 6-foot-10 forward who was asked to pose nude in the latest installment of ESPN The Magazine Body Issue. The section is titled the “Bodies We Want,” according to The Norman Transcript.
The magazine was released Monday on the internet and ESPN The Magazine’s Body Issue 2014, will hits newsstands July 11. Read interview below
I told them, “Hell no, no surgery.” [The doctors] told me I was going to be out for the rest of the playoffs: “The MRI showed that you are bleeding a lot in your calf and you’re going to be out the rest of the playoffs.” But my heart was telling me, “You’re going to be back.”
I didn’t want to believe that God could let me down like that. I said “I’m not just going to sit back and watch the rest of the playoffs at home.” I wasn’t listening to them. They told me “This is dangerous, this is serious; you can’t play like that.” I was like, “Man, excuse me, I’m about to play. This is too early to happen to me. (1) I’m not getting surgery, and (2) Trust me, I’m going to be back to play. At least one game, at least Game 7 or Game 6 or whatever, I will play.”
God and ice. The key was God and ice. I was icing 10 times a day, every day. 30 minutes ice, 30 minutes compression, all day just like that, all day on the couch.
It was not easy, that game, man. When I came back the first game, I was scared a little bit. My girlfriend was scared; she was thinking I was just going to play because of media pressure. And then my sister tells me, “I can’t believe you are trying to play today, and yesterday you couldn’t walk!” I said “Listen, whatever happens happens, but I need to be out there with my teammates.”
I remember my first moment playing basketball. It was in the Congo. I think I was like 7 or 8. My mom and dad played basketball too, so my dad was always asking me to come to see him play. So one day one of the guys who was playing with my dad, he said, “Hey, let me teach you something.” So he took an empty bottle of water and was using it as a ball and he said, “OK, take one step and do two and then jump — that’s all it is.” I went back home, and all night I was doing it. All night. That’s all I could think about. Even in the bathroom, I’m brushing my teeth and I start doing this. That’s where everything started.
I wish I had more body parts that I could work out. If I had my way, I’d be in the gym all day. I love to lift. When I don’t have basketball practice, I’ll be in a gym for 2.5 hours – 30 minutes abs, 2 hours lifting.
It’s much easier to get a six-pack if you’re short. [Tall people] have long, long muscles, so to get a six-pack to come out is hard. I’ve been working on my six-pack for 10 years now. It’s tough.
I had a poster of Kevin Garnett hanging in my room. He was one of my inspirations when I was young. I was at my friend’s house — he had a lot of money, so sometimes I’d go to his place to watch some NBA action. I remember the first time I saw Kevin Garnett, I just felt something in my body: “This feels like me.” I loved his spirit and his passion. I just felt like it was me out there playing on the court.
My goal is the same every offseason. I work my body to be good. Working in the gym all summer makes me feel stronger in my game. Last summer I was in Vegas. I was waking up at 5 or 6 a.m., and I’d go out and run up a mountain in Vegas. I’d run the mountain, then come back, eat breakfast, go to the gym and play basketball and work on my game. Then I’d go box in the gym and do some lifting. It was like that for two months every day.
Winning Defensive Player of the Year. That’s it, that’s all I think about in my mind. Every time I’m about to give up, I think to myself, “You lost three years in a row Defensive Player of the Year.” That’s what I am going for. I feel like I have that gift and that talent, I feel like if I keep working and doing what I have been doing, then one day it will happen. I believe it, I really believe it.
I wish I had more body parts that I could work out. If I had my way I’d be in the gym all day.
If you put some work in, you can have this body. It’s not because all basketball players have this body, no. I have this kind of body because I put a lot of work into it. I work out a lot.
see full interview here