Not too long ago, Serge Ibaka was feeling down in the dumps and wondering if he would be able to help the Oklahoma City Thunder again this postseason. Ibaka returned to the Thunder lineup on Sunday night, scoring 15 points and grabbing seven rebounds in an absolute must-win game. He also blocked four shots. Ibaka called it a “miracle” that he was only out 10 days. His girlfriend Keri Hilson may have helped.
Hilson, an R&B singer, said she flew in from Atlanta as soon as Ibaka injured his calf. The 6-foot-10 forward was not doing well.
“As soon as I heard, I didn’t feel comfortable being anywhere else,” Hilson told USA Today Sports over the weekend. “Even though he didn’t say it, I knew he needed me. I needed to do anything I could to put a smile on his face. He didn’t have a smile on his face all week. It was very hard. It was really hard.”
Hilson said Ibaka’s sister Rachina was just as helpful. Rachina was at the Chesapeake Energy Arena with Hilson on Sunday night embarrassing her brother (in a good way) with her enthusiasm.
“He’s one of the most dedicated people I’ve ever seen in any field, one of the most dedicated people I’ve ever been able to witness,” Hilson added. “(Rachina) was as much his nurse as I was. She cooks. I do the TLC and cook a little bit. We had to be there for him.”
Had the Thunder lost on Sunday, the series would be over. Thanks in large part to Ibaka’s speedy recovery, Oklahoma City still has a pulse. Having a significant other like Hilson probably helps the healing process.