Posted by Royce Young
All Serge Ibaka has left to do to finish off his Spanish citizenship is he "must swear loyalty to the Spanish crown and constitution." No word on if he has to kiss someone's ring though.
After Ibaka, 21, completes those last couple steps, he's officially be a Spaniard and will be eligible to play in the Eurobasket tournament in Lithuania which is in August and September.
This is a pretty massive thing for Spain, who is already one of the tournament favorites with Ricky Rubio, Pau and Marc Gasol, Jose Calderon and other NBA caliber players. Adding Ibaka immediately gives Spain maybe the best athlete in the tournament and an imposing big man who can impact the game on both ends of the floor. If you weren't picking Spain already, the addition of Ibaka should put you over the top.
I mean, look at that front court. Gasol, Gasol and Ibaka. That'd probably be the best front court in the NBA.
Why Spain for Ibaka, who is a native of the Republic of Congo? It's a place he spent three of his formative years, especially in terms of basketball. He started playing professionally in Spain as a teenager and really, his first language is Spanish. He still has a house in Barcelona.
"Spain is a country that has given me a lot," Ibaka told reporters after Spain's Council of Ministers approved his petition for nationality. "It will be an honor to give Spain back all that it has given me on the court."
Spain is the defending champion and at stake is an automatic bid for the 2012 Olympics in London. Which now, Ibaka can play in for Spain as well.