Oklahoma City forward Serge Ibaka was in Manchester this weekend endorsing the NBA brand to fans at a 3x event.
Ibaka made a stop at Etihad Stadium, where he was presented his own number 9 shirt. If he ever decided to take up football, the 6ft 10in Spanish star could fit in nicely with some of City’s new signings including Alvaro Negredo, who is Manuel Pellegrini’s actual number 9.
Known by his teammates as Air Congo, the 23-year-old Ibaka has established himself as a proven big man for one of the league’s most exciting teams. Despite being a Spaniard, he considers himself a modest football fan and is still trying to learn more about the sport.
“I haven’t watched a lot of City but to hear about the title-win was inspiring. In the NBA we have buzzer beaters but to win a title with two goals in just a few minutes must have been an incredible feeling.” Ibaka said over the weekend.
Although he was presented with the number 9 shirt, he was also quick to point out that he was an uncertain footballer at best and recognised City’s real number 9.
“I’ve played a bit of soccer, it is a great game,” he said. “I think I’d be a striker but I know City have already got a good number 9 and he’s Spanish too so I’ll leave the goalscoring to him.
Serge will be back in Manchester later this year for the Oklahoma City Thunder’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Manchester Arena as part of NBA Global Games 2013 on October 8th. The Global Games also feature Atlanta Hawks taking on the Brooklyn Nets on January 16th at The O2.
Tickets are on sale now.