Ricky Rubio (born October 21, 1990) is a Spanish professional basketball player for the Utah Jazz of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Rubio became the youngest player ever to play in the Spanish ACB League on October 15, 2005, at age 14. He made his Euroleague debut on October 24, 2006, at age 16, becoming the first player born in the 1990s to play in a Euroleague game. On June 25, 2009, he was drafted with the fifth pick in the first round of the 2009 NBA Draft by the Timberwolves, making him the first player born in the 1990s to be drafted by the NBA. The Timberwolves had an agreement in principle with his former Spanish team, DKV Joventut, to buy out his contract, but Rubio backed out of the deal. On August 31, 2009, Joventut traded the rights to Rubio to FC Barcelona, and Rubio signed a six-year contract with FC Barcelona the following day. On May 31, 2011, Rubio reached an agreement with Minnesota to join the Timberwolves for the 2011–12 NBA season.
Rubio playing in Spain
Rubio is regarded by some as the best European guard prospect ever. Rubio has been compared by some to Pete Maravich.
In the 2009 NBA Draft On June 24, 2009, the Minnesota Timberwolves acquired the 5th pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, Etan Thomas, Darius Songaila and Oleksiy Pecherov from the Washington Wizards, in exchange for Randy Foye and Mike Miller. With the 5th pick, Minnesota selected Rubio, making him the first player born in the 1990s to be drafted. The Timberwolves had a total of four first round picks in the 2009 NBA Draft. They used the 6th and 18th picks in the first round and chose two other point guards, Jonny Flynn from Syracuse and Ty Lawson from North Carolina, surprising many in the NBA. Lawson's draft rights were soon traded to the Denver Nuggets. The Timberwolves then used the 28th pick to select Wayne Ellington, a shooting guard from North Carolina. The following day, Rubio's father told a Spanish media outlet that his son may return to Spain for at least one more season. Rubio did not attend an introductory press conference by the Timberwolves. Rubio had a buyout clause in his Joventut contract reported by various media outlets as ranging from $6.6 million to $8.2 million, and Timberwolves general manager David Kahn admitted that Rubio may have to play one more season in Spain to reduce or avoid the buyout. After the draft On July 22, the Associated Press reported that Rubio was seeking to leave Joventut, regardless of whether he was able to come to the NBA. The report indicated that ACB powers FC Barcelona and Real Madrid were both interested in signing Rubio if he could not immediately come to the NBA. The main stumbling block to Rubio's NBA move was a clause in the league's collective bargaining agreement that prohibits a team from paying more than $500,000 toward a player's contract buyout. Barça and Real, as ACB clubs, are not subject to this rule and could pay far more toward a buyout. In another development, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported on August 4 that Rubio's representatives had been actively seeking endorsement deals in Minnesota to help finance his buyout (the NBA buyout rules are binding on teams, but not on third parties). However, on August 31, 2009, ESPN reported that Rubio would not come to the NBA until 2011 at the earliest. Joventut expressed a willingness to reduce the buyout, and the Timberwolves apparently had a deal to bring him to the NBA, but in the end Rubio did not feel ready to come across the Atlantic. Rubio issued the following statement: “ The reason leading me to take this next step is to have a period of preparation to better take the challenge of the NBA in better conditions as a player. The Minnesota Timberwolves continue to be my first option and I wish to play with them in the near future. ”
Kahn believed that Rubio and his family were being pressured by the Spanish media, his national teammates, and people in his hometown to stay in Spain, adding, "It's just been a tough summer. From an 18-year-old's perspective and his family's perspective, it was very nerve-racking. "ESPN reported that his original buyout with Joventut was €5.7 million ($8.1 million) in both 2009 and 2010. Barça bought out Rubio's contract for €3.5 million ($5.0 million), and announced on September 1 that he had signed a six-year deal with the club. The contract gave him the option to go to the NBA after the 2010–11 season, with ESPN reporting that the buyout at that time would be a more manageable $1.4 million (of which the Timberwolves could pay $500,000).
Rubio debuted in the Spanish ACB League in the 2005-06 season with DKV Joventut. He won the EuroChallenge championship with Joventut that year. He led the Spanish ACB League in steals during the 2006-07 season. He also won the Spanish ACB League's Rising Star Award that season. Rubio was also named the 2007, 2008, and 2009 FIBA Europe Young Player of the Year. He made his Euroleague debut on October 24, 2006, versus Panathinaikos of Athens as Joventut's backup point guard for Elmer Bennett. Rubio averaged 2.8 assists per game in his first season of Euroleague play. He won the Eurocup championship with Joventut in 2008. He was also voted the Spanish ACB League's best point guard in 2008 and 2010. He won the Euroleague 2009-2010 with FC Barcelona. Despite his notability, he was carefully shielded. DKV Joventut and Rubio's parents agreed not to make him available for interviews until his 18th birthday on 21 October 2008. However, the restrictions were ended a few months early once he was selected for the Spanish national team that would play at the 2008 Olympics. Rubio won the 2008 Mr. Europa Award, which is given out yearly by the Italian Superbasket Magazine. In 2009, his club Badalona raised the amount of money that his contract paid per year from 80,000 euros net income to 300,000 euros net income. He was named the Defensive Player of the Year for the Spanish ACB League 2008-09 season, and he also led the league in steals that season. Rubio declared himself eligible for the 2009 NBA Draft on April 20, 2009. Rubio's agent is Dan Fegan.
Minnesota Timberwolves (2011–2017)
On June 1, 2011, sources reported that Rubio had "reached an agreement with Minnesota to join the Timberwolves" for the 2011–12 NBA season. Rubio arrived off a plane in Minnesota to a barrage of fans waiting to welcome him to America. On June 17, 2011, Rubio held a press conference announcing that he had signed with Minnesota. Becoming the 10th Spanish NBA player, Rubio made his regular season debut on December 26, 2011, to a sellout crowd at Target Center, the team's first sellout crowd since the 2007-08 season. Rubio recorded 6 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists in 26 minutes a 4-point loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder. He was named Western Conference Rookie of the Month after the first month of the season. In February, Rubio and teammate Derrick Williams were selected to participate in the 2012 Rising Stars challenge. However, Rubio was drafted to Team Shaq, while Williams was drafted to Team Chuck. Rubio scored a career high 22 points on February 19, 2012 in a win over the Philadelphia 76ers. In a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on March 9, 2012, Rubio tore his ACL after colliding into Kobe Bryant. He missed the remainder of the season.
Utah Jazz (2017–present)
On June 30, 2017, Rubio was traded to the Utah Jazz in exchange for a 2018 first-round draft pick.
Spanish national team
Under-16 national team In August 2006, Rubio led the rising junior Spanish national team to the FIBA Europe Under-16 Championship. During the tournament Rubio achieved two triple-doubles and a quadruple-double. In the 110–106 double overtime finale victory over Russia, Rubio scored 51 points, the first player to do so in FIBA tournaments since Luol Deng (in 2001), grabbed 24 rebounds, made 12 assists, and stole the ball 7 times—a performance unprecedented in the tournament's history. He also forced the first overtime with a three-point, buzzer-beating shot from mid-court. Rubio was subsequently named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament after leading it in points, rebounds, assists and steals. Senior national team Medal record Men's Basketball Competitor for Spain Summer Olympics Silver 2008 Beijing National Team FIBA European Championship Gold 2009 Poland National Team Gold 2011 Lithuania National Team The young Spaniard was selected to take part in the Spanish National Team which participated at the 2008 Olympics Basketball Tournament in Beijing, China. The team was composed of current and former NBA players such as Pau Gasol, José Calderón, Rudy Fernández, Marc Gasol, Raúl López, Jorge Garbajosa, and Juan Carlos Navarro, among others. He played in the 2008 Olympics Basketball Tournament's gold medal game against the USA's "Redeem Team", and thus at 17 became the youngest basketball player to ever play in an Olympic basketball final. Rubio shared the Spanish national team's silver medal after his team suffered a 118–107 loss. The next year he was chosen to play for Spain at the EuroBasket 2009 in Poland, where Spain won the gold medal by defeating Serbia 85–63. During the tournament, Rubio averaged 22.7 minutes, 5.9 points, 2.2 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.4 steals per game.
Awards and accomplishments
- Spanish King's Cup (1): 2008
- EuroChallenge (1): 2006
- Eurocup (1): 2008
- Catalan Cup Tournament (3): 2005, 2007, 2008
FC Barcelona Basquet
- Spanish League (1): 2010–11
- Spanish King's Cup (2): 2010, 2011
Euroleague (1): 2010
- Spanish Supercup (2): 2009, 2010
- Catalan Cup Tournament (2): 2009, 2010
Spanish national team
- FIBA Europe Under-16 Championship: Bronze Medal (2005)
- FIBA Europe Under-16 Championship: Gold Medal (2006)
- 2008 Olympics Basketball Tournament: Silver Medal
- EuroBasket 2009: Gold Medal
- EuroBasket 2011: Gold Medal
MVP of the FIBA Europe Under-16 Championship: he averaged 22.3 points, 12.8 rebounds, 7.1 assists, 6.5 steals. In the final, accumulated 51 points, 24 rebounds, 12 assists and 7 steals.
- 2× led the Spanish ACB League in steals: (2007, 2009)
- Won the Spanish ACB League Rising Star Award: (2007)
- 3× FIBA European Young Player of the Year: (2007, 2008, 2009)
- 2× Spanish ACB League's Best Point Guard: (2008, 2010)
- 2× All-Spanish ACB League Team: (2008, 2010)
- Italian Superbasket Magazine's European Player of the Year: Mr. Europa: (2008)
- Spanish ACB League Defensive Player of the Year: (2009)
- Catalan Cup Tournament MVP: (2009)
- Euroleague Rising Star: (2010)
- Won the Spanish ACB League Top 5 Trophy: Most Spectacular Player of the Year (2010)