Raptors’ tribute video for Serge Ibaka was just a bit off
The Toronto Raptors’ tribute video for Serge Ibaka on Friday did not exactly hit like tribute videos usually do.
The Raptors welcomed back their former big man, who is now with the LA Clippers and was in town to face them. The team aired a tribute video for Ibaka, but there was one problem … there were no fans in the arena.
Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment Ltd., which owns both the Raptors and the Toronto Maple Leafs, recently announced that they would not allow fans at Scotiabank Arena for three weeks due to COVID-19 concerns. The arena had previously scaled back its capacity to 50 percent in accordance with guidelines given by the local Ontario government. Friday marked the beginning of Scotiabank Arena’s three-week period with no fans at all.
Reporters who were at the arena commented on how awkward the tribute video for Ibaka was without fans in attendance to applaud for him.
Really fun, well-done video tribute for Serge Ibaka here at Scotiabank Arena … and it's a legit shame no one is here to see it. Google it, I guess. Raptors lead 19-6.
— Michael Grange (@michaelgrange) January 1, 2022
Just feels wrong that they just did a Serge Ibaka tribute video with no fans.
— Libaan Osman (@libaanstar1) January 1, 2022
Raptors did a nice job with the Ibaka tribute video; bit of an awkward scene with nobody in the building, though. Serge will have to wait until next season for his standing ovation, but it's coming, and when it does it'll be well deserved.
— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) January 1, 2022
Take a look at the video, which Ibaka did not really seem to be paying much attention to.
ICYMI, here's the Serge Ibaka tribute video pic.twitter.com/dOZJ8JGNa4
— Raptors Republic (@raptorsrepublic) January 1, 2022
Granted, there was not much reason for Ibaka to pay attention since there were no fans for him to acknowledge after all.
The veteran big man Ibaka played for Toronto from 2017 to 2020 and was a big part of their 2019 NBA championship. Thus, there is little doubt that he deserved a tribute video. But the timing of it with zero fans around made for the most awkward tribute video we have seen since this one.
Photo: Jun 7, 2019; Oakland, CA, USA; Toronto Raptors center Serge Ibaka (9) walks into Oracle Arena prior to game four of the 2019 NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors. Mandatory Credit: Sergio Estrada-USA TODAY Sports