Serge Ibaka clearly has a hatred for the University of Missouri. If you’re a former Tiger and you come into his lane then he will send you and the ball you came with in the other direction, Linas Kleiza, you freaking loser.
Serge has been busy this summer. He’s updated his Instagram username to mr_avecclasse. He’s celebrated his birthday in style — yams everywhere. He’s started asking for more fan involvement with regard to his pictures. I’m saying, he needs your captions. But the biggest move he’s made, far and away, is getting the official shot-blocking master seal of approval from the great one, Dikembe Mutumbo. Look at that work of art. You got “Not In My House” down at the bottom. A simple “Serge” in the upper left corner. And up top and to the right you get “Block In Your Face”, which is exactly what I’ll be tweeting each and every time Serge sends one back this year. Let’s get this in Gilcrease.
For a couple years I’ve been quietly sour that Ibaka had taken Mutumbo’s finger wag and made it his own. You tend to want players to come up with their own stuff, exhibit a little creativity, and show out in a way that’s unique to them. Russ’ aggressive holstering, Sam Cassell and the Big Nuts Dance, Larry Johnson’s “L” celebration, so on and so forth.
Mutumbo’s finger wag is iconic. Truly. There hasn’t been a child raised on 90’s NBA that hasn’t gone out to there driveway, lowered the goal to 7 ft, had their friend come in for a dunk, and tried to block them. You had your own names for it. Face Off, or whatever. We in Ft. Gibson circles called it Dunk Ball. SlamBall was already taken. Sidebar: Around the 1:04 mark of that video you see why you don’t mess with the Maulers Stan Fletcher when he’s rocking Concords. Then around the 2:10 mark you’re reminded once more: This is not a game to Stan “Shakes” Fletcher. Miss you SlamBall. Miss you everyday. Also, doesn’t that announcer kind of sound like a homeless man’s Gus Johnson? Just a little?
Back to the driveway, though. If the dunk goes in, true disaster, especially once cell phones with video cameras came into play. If you get the block, if you shut the door on the attempt, if you erase the try and leave them on the concrete wallowing in their own misery and hoping no girls are around, then you broke out the finger wag and told them this was your lane, dude, and please don’t be coming in here without my permission again. We were all imitating Mutumbo. So when I first saw Serge break out the wag my heart sunk a bit. He could be this generations shot-blocker supreme, so I’d wanted him to take ownership of a celebration that he could make his own. I was wrong.
Clearly I underestimated Ibaka and the bond he’s got with Mutumbo. These dudes are boys. Look at how chill they are together. Just holding it down, avec classe in Manchester. Ibaka’s wag is more of a tribute than a copycat. A way to shout out his hero. Nothing wrong with that.
He’s been erasing shots his whole time in Europe.
Even the French are impressed. Wag away.