Serge Ibaka was seen originally as a major piece to Spain’s gold medal contending side. The NBA’s top shot blocker joining a front line of Marc and Pau Gasol would give the Spanish a legitimate interior problem for the United States to deal with.
Except Ibaka strangely fell out of favor and didn’t see much playing time. He often sat entire second halves, and had three games in which he played six minutes or fewer. And guess what? He wasn’t psyched about that. According to Spanish site El Mundo, via HoopsHype:
His anger was public, and clandestine, during the Games. After the selection of training, while the other players shared coffee or fruit, the forward of the Thunder put as much distance as possible. The day before the final, for example, only on the bus waited for half an hour and looking angry.
The evening before the semifinals wandered through a field near the stadium, so unfriendly gesturing while talking on the phone … That rebellion was not directed against their peers but against the coach, Sergio Scariolo. The Congolese forward felt underused and questioned his playing time. “If things continue like this I will not return,” he acknowledged to his close before the end.