Serge Ibaka Says ‘Gladiator’ Inspired His New Block Celebration

by November 14, 2015

Serge Ibaka is celebrating blocks in a new way this season: turning a thumbs up into a thumbs down.

The Thunder big man had been wagging his finger out of respect for Dikembe Mutombo, but thought it was time for his own post-highlight routine.

The inspiration comes from the gesture supposedly used to take a gladiator’s life during the reign of the Roman Empire.

Thunder center Steven Adams approves of the change, but recently joked that a thumbs up would be more demoralizing to the opponent.

Ibaka recorded a season-high 7 rejections against Philly on Saturday, and fans are already having fun with the celebration.

From the Oklahoman:

Then there’s Serge Ibaka, the elite shot-blocker who, for years, has gone with the finger wag after authoritative swats. But that’s a Dikembe Mutombo thing from back in the day. Ibaka is close to Mutombo and, it seems, wanted to switch it up.


“You know that’s my big brother’s,” Ibaka said. “Dikembe Mutombo. So I got mine now.”


Mine would be the thumbs down celebration Ibaka has been doing the first four games after big blocks. It’s been a hit with the fans, who like the creativity and have compared it to a famous scene from the movie ‘Gladiator.’