People have been waiting to see Ricky Rubio play in the NBA since he was drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2009. All anyone really knew about him was that he was this phenom who had been playing pro basketball in Spain since about the time he hit puberty, but people wanted to know how he’d fare in the NBA.
Now, Rubio is finally playing for the T-wolves, and most of the fears that he wouldn’t be able to transition into the NBA are quickly disappearing. San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker was in a similar situation about a decade ago, coming from a foreign country into the big spotlight of the NBA. He seems to think Rubio will be just fine.
“Obviously you have a lot of expectation, but he’s been playing with the pros since he’s 14,” Parker said of Rubio. “He’d been playing for Barcelona, and it’s one of the best teams in Europe, so he’s been in pressure situations a lot.”
Coach Pop also seemed to agree with what Parker said, Rubio is already prepared for the big time.
“He’s not impressed with what goes on in the NBA,” Popovich said. “He’s been in championship games. He’s been doing it for years, and this is no big deal for him. He’s ready to go.”
While it’s easy to downplay the transition because Rubio, like Parker, had already experienced so much before joining the NBA, it’s still a big step. Even if TP didn’t have much advice for Rubio because Ricky seems like he’s got it all together, he can still learn from Parker’s example.
Even though Parker went even more into the spotlight than he needed to, dating and eventually marrying and divorcing one of the most famous women in America, he mostly kept a level head about everything. Parker always seemed to stay focused on basketball, his top priority in the States. Rubio needs to do the same. Just stay focused on his game, and everything will work out. He has tons of talent, just like Parker, and he can contribute a lot to his team if he keeps at it. Rubio is another shining example of why the NBA should continue to be a global league.