Bizarre Scene In Toronto During Serge Ibaka Tribute Video


It was sort of like the proverbial 'if a tree falls in the forest...' 

Dec. 31st was one of the dates that Toronto Raptors fans had circled on their calendar this season: the return of Serge Ibaka. And the team put together a tremendous tribute video for the Raps' returning big man. Only one problem: there were no fans there to see it. 

New COVID restrictions in Toronto left fans prohibited from attending the games at Scotiabank Arena for at least the next few weeks. 

Featuring snippets of his on and off-court escapades over his four years in Toronto, it began with the Raptors' public address announcer Herbie Kuhn bellowing, to no one in particular, "Please direct your attention to the video board... Welcome back number 9, Serge Ibaka!!!!"

As the video played, Ibaka sat on the Los Angeles Clippers' bench, not really paying it any mind, since... there was no one there to watch it and respond. No standing ovation, no chants and cheers. But make no mistake, this is a moment the former Raptors NBA champion was very much looking forward to. 

"I know they miss me," Ibaka told The Raptors Show podcast, speaking of the Toronto fans, "and I miss them too. They're gonna be my family for the rest of my life."

Unfortunately, thanks to COVID, it was a very hollow moment. 

Photo Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports