Serge Ibaka is great! He had a triple-double (14 points, 15 rebounds, 11 blocks) last night in the Thunder's 124-118 overtime win over the Nuggets. But the Worldwide Leader, reader Morgan writes in, is shortchanging Ibaka's around-the-world origin.
Look at his listed birthplace: "Brazzaville, Zaire." Huh. Keen observers will note that Zaire hasn't been called Zaire since 1997, when Mobutu Sese Seko (no, not that one) fled. It's the Democratic Republic of the Congo now. But, OK, ESPN lists the defunct Czechoslovakia as the birthplace of Czech and Slovak players. So not too bad?
Here's the bigger problem: ESPN has the wrong Congo!
Brazzaville is the capital of the Republic of the Congo (which is helpfully also known as Congo-Brazzaville), not the Democratic Republic of the Congo, or the former Zaire. That's where Ibaka's from. The countries border each other, but they aren't the same and were not united under "Zaire." Got it, ESPN? Might as well apologize for this one, while you're at it.
Serge Ibaka bio [ESPN.com]