Saturday night is the night that OKC Thunder star Serge Ibaka debuts his new documentary Son of the Congo in Oklahoma City featured by Grantland. The film focuses on Ibaka's journey and uprise to the NBA from his native Congo. The movie will feature the baller returning to his war-torn home, where he narrates his childhood and gives hope to the youth within the Congo who face a rough reality.
“I feel blessed to have the opportunity to show where I come from, my roots, and to be able to tell my story in a natural way,” Ibaka stated. “This wouldn't have been possible without the commitment from Grantland and ESPN, director Adam Hootnick and Humble. Their passion and interest in telling my story in a genuine way so that I might be able to inspire someone with this film is my ultimate goal.”
The motion picture was partially produced by Humble and directed by award-winning filmmaker Adam Hootnick, who has also directed 30 for 30 Shorts for ESPN.
“To be in Congo with Serge Ibaka is to see the embodiment of grace, generosity, and never forgetting where you come from, and it's hard to believe he's [so young],” said Hootnick. “While Serge was born with incredible physical gifts, what most sets him apart is his faith that we all have the capacity to change our world and the obligation to help others to change theirs. I'm so lucky that Grantland saw the potential of Serge's story and that Serge was willing to let us in, and I hope that anyone who sees Son of the Congo will feel the same.”
The heartfelt story tells the hardships Ibaka faced before making it to the top. When Ibaka was growing up his mother died and his father was put in prison, so at one point he had no one, no food, and he was sleeping on the streets. “I didn't have nothing, but I was dreaming because the dream is free,” explained Ibaka. “All this kind of stuff just made me go so hard on basketball when I was young.”
Following Saturday, the documentary will premiere on Grantland in five parts from March 23-27, and will later air on ESPN (April 17).