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HomeUncategorizedDuring the gloomy period for the Timberwolves, Ricky Rubio shone brightly

During the gloomy period for the Timberwolves, Ricky Rubio shone brightly

On Thursday, Ricky Rubio retired from the NBA, reaching a buyout with the Cleveland Cavaliers for the remaining two years of his contract. His last game in Minnesota was in 2021, and he announced his departure from the game due to a mental health crisis, from which he is currently recovering.

“One day, when the timing is right, I would like to share my entire journey with all of you to provide support to others facing similar challenges,” Rubio stated on X. “Until then, I choose to keep it private out of consideration for my family and myself, as I am still focusing on my mental health. However, I am proud to say that I am improving significantly and making progress every day.”

For a player who radiated such optimism and brought so much happiness during the difficult times for the Timberwolves franchise, it was the kind of declaration that can suddenly make sports seem insignificant.

It also triggered recollections.

Rubio occupied an unusual position. He was often ridiculed as one of the two players, alongside Jonny Flynn, whom the Timberwolves drafted just before Steph Curry in 2009. During his seven seasons in Minnesota — two separate spells and phases of his career — the Wolves had a record of 196-352. He was never an All-Star, never All-NBA. It was even argued, in this publication, that he was the poorest shooter in modern league history.

Yet, for anyone who adored Timberwolves basketball, Ricky Rubio was the real deal.

His court awareness was unmatched, and he knew how to utilize it — delivering passes that seemed to only exist in his imagination. Watching him on the fast break, deceiving defenders while sprinting down the court and threading a bounce pass into a space that seemed non-existent just moments before, placing the ball flawlessly into the hands of a charging Kevin Love or Andrew Wiggins or Zach LaVine, was pure basketball delight.

He educated a generation of Wolves supporters on how to interpret the court, to recognize those same imperceptible seams, and to leap to their feet the instant the ball left his hands. They would cheer for him in his native the depths of forgotten seasons, “Olé, olé, olé, olé!”

In the state of Minnesota, we were able to witness what Rubio perceived.

On the defensive end, he displayed a strategic approach; when it came to finding hidden gaps in the opponent’s offense, he effortlessly anticipated their basic intentions — leaping into passing lanes, swatting the ball ahead of his swift movements, a slight spring in his stride as the Wolves’ offense sprang to action.

He maintained an average of 10.1 points, 8.1 assists, and 2 steals per game for the Wolves, but the statistics were somehow of lesser importance. To admire Rubio was to cherish the essence of basketball, and during an era when victories were scarcely achieved by the franchise, it served as a thread of significance to cling onto.

In the latter part of February in 2013, the Wolves were up against the Lakers, marking one of the rare occasions when they were broadcasted nationwide during Rubio’s tenure here. He was wired up by TNT, and they captured him conversing with a disheartened Alexey Shved during a timeout. Rubio encouraged him, saying, “Alexey, alter that expression. Find joy! Embrace it!”

It was a fleeting moment that rapidly circulated across the internet because it encapsulated something genuine about Rubio: a distinct perception of the game, a way of savoring life’s little instances.

He is now departing from the NBA, quietly, in search of that once again for himself. In Minnesota, a multitude of fans are extending their best wishes to him.

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