Serge Ibaka might be developing into a player other teams love to hate — and that's good for OKC

Ibaka has become an agitator, the kind of player who gets under opponents' skin, gets them off their game.
by Jenni Carlson Published: December 10, 2012
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It happened so quickly that you almost miss it, even on slow-motion replay.

Artest responded by wrapping his arm around Ibaka, who then wrapped his arm around Artest. Artest then put his forearms into Ibaka's chest. Ibaka then grabbed the back of Artest's jersey.

The two of them danced like that for a few seconds before being separated without incident.

Still, it was interesting that in a kerfuffle involving Artest, it was actually Serge who struck the first blow and started the whole thing.

That exchange between Ibaka and Artest prompted Jackson's threatening tweet. Jackson, you see, is Artest's former teammate, and apparently, he felt the need to stick up for him.

Here's what Jackson said verbatim.

Somebody tel serg Abaka. He aint bout dis life. Next time he run up on me im goin in his mouth. That's a promise. He doin 2 much.

I've got to be honest, I'm not exactly sure what Jackson threatened to do. Does he mean Ibaka shouldn't be in this world anymore? Does Jackson, whose Spurs come to town next Monday, mean he's going to pop Ibaka in the mouth?

I don't know.

The NBA knew enough to drop a $25,000 fine on Jackson.

But here's the thing — Ibaka has obviously agitated Jackson, and it goes beyond the shots he blocks, the rebounds he grabs and the points he scores.

Not that that's a bad thing.

Look at teams that have won NBA titles, and you're likely to find an agitator or two. Udonis Haslem with the Heat. Jason Terry with the Mavs. Artest with the Lakers. The list goes on and on.

Fans of those teams love those guys while everyone else around the league thinks they're punks.

The Thunder image makers want you to believe this team is punk-free, but the truth is, they are like every other contender. They need nasty on the court. They need some bad boys.

Looks like one might be developing right under their noses.

Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at (405) 475-4125. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.

by Jenni Carlson
Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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