Ibaka nationalized by Spain, ready to play Euros



MADRID (AP) — Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka has been granted Spanish nationality, clearing the way for him to help Spain defend its European championship this summer.

Ibaka must swear loyalty to the Spanish crown and constitution to finalize the process after Spain’s Council of Ministers approved his petition for nationality on Friday.

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 can join Los Angeles Lakers center Pau Gasol and brother Marc of the Memphis Grizzlies in a formidable front court for Spain.

The Europeans begin on Aug. 31 in Lithuania.