Photo: (NBA) Ricky Rubio back in 2009, when he was first drafted by Minnesota
Spanish point guard, Ricky Rubio, who was most recently playing basketball as part of Spain’s FC Barcelona has now become the first player born in the 1990’s to join the NBA. (Rubio was born October 21, 1990.)
On May 31, Rubio signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves, bringing an end to the anticipation of those wondering when the phenom would make the move to the NBA.
Two years ago, Rubio was drafted by the Timberwolves as the fifth overall draft pick, but a $6 million buyout clause with his Spanish contract with DKV Joventut, which he would have had to pay out of his own pocket, prompted his decision to defer his arrival to the states. There were also rumors that the then-teenaged Rubio didn’t want to play in Minnesota.
After playing in overseas for an additional two years, the buyout is now down to $1.4. And while the T-wolves can only contribute $500,000, they have been working on endorsement deals with a number of local companies to help cover the rest.
Former NBA guard Pepe Sanchez once said, “I think he’s a freak of nature, being so young and being so skilled and also so cool all the time. You can see that he knows what he’s doing. He’s not playing out there with pros based only on his talents. He knows the game and he can only improve. I think he’ll be a great player. It all depends on him, but I personally think he’s going to be great.”
The Timberwolves team president David Kahn has called Rubio “a virtuoso and somebody special,” and for a youngster that went pro at the age of 14, that’s an understatement.
Earlier this season, Lakers forward and fellow Spaniard, Pau Gasol said, “He’s a special player and a very good point guard. Very unselfish. He’s got great size, great length. He knows how to play the game very well. He’s got a great feel for the game. He’s just a guy that will get the team going and do what he needs to do.”