Thunder forward Serge Ibaka posted a message to his fans on his blog on Monday. Ibaka, who was named to the NBA’s All-Defensive First Team on Monday, came back after missing two games with a calf injury in the Western Conference Finals against the San Antonio Spurs.
His message to his fans: I played with all my heart.
The season is over. We came up short with our effort to try to get back to the Finals. It’s disappointing because we had a lot of hopes in this season. We tried hard and gave our best, but we have to give credit to the Spurs, they played better basketball and they deserve to be in the Finals.
Now we have to move on and what we need to think about is how to get better for next season. Every year we try to make a big step and get better and better. I’m sure we will learn this year from this postseason and next year we will all come with a different mind.
I think we need to sacrifice ourselves, and play team basketball. I’m sure we will be better next year, and we will come back stronger. I think the most important thing is to always sacrifice. If we want to get to a point where we are the best team in basketball, we will all have to sacrifice at some point.
In these playoffs obviously my calf injury was a difficult moment. I had to miss the first two games against the Spurs, which was hard. But then I was able to come back sooner than expected. It was a miracle, I can’t explain how it happened. The doctor told me yesterday that I almost had surgery when I got injured, so it was definitely very surprising to be able to play. But I never lost faith in God and myself and kept positive. Maybe because of that I was able to get better fast.
I appreciate that my teammates saw that I came back to play with pain. It means a lot to me. The first day I came back I was playing with pain. I was trying to play defence with one leg, but I felt that my presence on the court could help my teammates. I was playing with all my heart and not thinking about the pain. I wanted to do whatever to help and give confidence to my teammates, because we were down 2-0 and a lot of people thought it was over. I was thinking, whatever happens, at least I’m trying. It’s important to me to feel that my teammates need me especially in the defensive aspect of the game. It means a lot.
I’m sure I will feel better soon. I will keep doing the same recovery I’ve been doing during the playoffs and we’ll see how my leg is going to feel in the next few weeks. My hope is to play with the Spanish national team in the World Championship in Spain this summer. I’m looking forward to that.
As always, I want to thank all the fans that support the Thunder and myself. It means a lot to know that you always have so many people by your side, cheering for you no matter what, when we win or when we lose, or when you get injured and can’t even play…
I feel very fortunate to be in this position. Thank you all!