Madrid — Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka was granted Spanish nationality on Friday, clearing the way for him to help Spain defend its European championship this summer.
"Spain is a country that has given me a lot," Ibaka said after Spain's Council of Ministers approved his petition for nationality. "It will be an honor to give Spain back all that it has given me on the court."
The 21-year-old was born in the Republic of Congo but played for Spanish clubs for three years before moving to the NBA in 2009. According to Spanish media reports, he maintains a residence in Barcelona.
Ibaka must swear loyalty to the Spanish crown and constitution to complete the nationalization process before he can team with Los Angeles Lakers center Pau Gasol and brother Marc of the Memphis Grizzlies in a formidable frontcourt for Spain.