From a slum to Thunder star, Serge Ibaka gives back to his homeland hoping others will show compassion

Brazzaville, Republic of Congo — You don’t have to know the language to read their faces. Their eyes are a window to the soul. These are just a handful of the thousands of orphans … living in the Republic of Congo.

Oklahoma City Thunder player, Serge Ibaka said, “I saw some babies, like 2-3 months old. No parents. No mom. No dad.”

They line up for scraps, most Americans wouldn’t even touch. Clean drinking water is scare. And toys are a luxury most families simply cannot afford.

Serge Ibaka’s childhood was not much different. His mother died when he was young. His father, imprisoned during political unrest in Africa.

Ibaka told us, “I started to learn to take care of myself when I was young.”

Ibaka grew up dirt poor in the slums of Brazzaville. He gladly shared everything including his shoes, with 2-dozen extended family members.

But Serge Ibaka had resolve to escape his circumstances.

Matt Meyersohn said, “Serge knows better than anybody. Where he came from and when his mother passed away at 7, he was determined to give back.”

Serge has succeeded professionally, financially and never forgets his roots.

The NBA star returns to the Congo frequently, donating his time, money and energy to several Children’s Centers.

Ibaka said, “I’m here to try to do whatever I can do, you know. To make life a little better. Maybe I cannot change everything, but just to give them a little opportunity to live like the other kids too, you know? Because they deserve like everybody.”

Partnering with Pros For Africa and UNICEF, Serge is renovating shelters, clothing the poor and helping educate hundreds of children.

Bill Horn, Co-Founder of Pros For Africa said, “Serge promised God, if you get me out of this country and allow me to play in the NBA, I will live for you and never forget where I came from and help as many people as I can and that’s exactly what he’s doing.’

Ibaka says he is grateful to be in this position to give generously.

He deflected the credit, “They need to thank God, not me. Because if it’s not for God, I would not be here.”

Serge Ibaka realizes the awards eventually tarnish. The applause fades. The achievements are forgotten. It’s compassion, he says, not credentials that have the lasting impact.