Rubio's selfishness a slap in the face to Americans


On the same day a piece in the Wall Street Journal criticized the way America’s youth basketball system prepares its athletes for the pros, the biggest headache from this year’s NBA Draft came from overseas. Spain’s Ricky Rubio might have the court vision and passing ability of some the sport’s all-time greats, but lately he’s proven that he has the brains of some of its most foolish players.

Rubio was largely considered the most fundamentally-sound player in the draft, but he made headlines in recent weeks more for the stipulations he had for playing in the USA than for his abilities on the court. The 18 year old made it clear that he had no interest in playing for Memphis, who picked second, and he wasn’t crazy about Oklahoma City, who followed the Grizzlies. So when Sacramento took Tyreke Evans with the fourth pick, it became clear that Minnesota was going to land Rubio.

But shortly after the Timberwolves took the Spanish star, Rubio’s father made it clear that he had no interest in playing in Minnesota and Rubio himself followed up by saying the state was “too cold.” Suddenly the kid who once said he was so excited to play in the NBA that he’d play for free was allowing his agent to say he was considering heading back to Europe for a few seasons.

Isn’t a selfish point guard an oxymoron? That’s exactly what Rubio is proving to be by trying to manipulate the system and land only in a place he wants to be. Might as well give him a private airplane while you’re at it.

This disgusts me. The media spends so much time criticizing American players because they are too-selfish, too-greedy, too-black, but no one ever wants to get on the foreign players who say they’ve always dreamed about playing in the NBA, yet will only play in place that is the right fit for them. You think Blake Griffin is thrilled to be playing for the worst franchise in professional sports?

Of course not. But he’s ecstatic to have a chance to play in the NBA, something he’s probably thought about since the first time he picked up a basketball. You can attack the American system or the American player all you want, but at least they aren’t taking the draft for granted.

They know what it means to make it to the NBA and with the exception of a few (Steve Francis comes to mind) they’d play for any team willing to take them. Meanwhile, the foreign players, realizing they have all the leverage in the world, take advantage of the system. Rubio is just the latest player to abuse it. Remember when Yi Jianlian didn’t want to play for the Bucks because there weren’t enough Chinese people in Milwaukee? For the record, Rubio and Jianlian have the same agent – Dan Fegan.

Someone ask DeMar DeRozan and Brandon Jennings, two guys who grew up in Compton and will now play in Toronto and Milwaukee respectively, how much they care about not being surrounded by people who look just like them.

What a slap in the face to the American player. And you better believe the Americans recognize it and resent it.

No matter where Rubio ends up, I guarantee he won’t be a favorite in the locker room.

More on Ricky Rubio:
Media Old & New Concur : Walsh Should’ve Taken Jennings - CSTB
Timberwolves Should Hold Onto Their Guns With Rubio - The Sportz Assassin
Anybody seen Ricky Rubio at El Meson? - Star Tribune


rob 9:15 AM, June 28, 2009  

This was a good post, but rules are rules. Rubio is allowed to make wahtever decision he wants the same the way americans are.

Mariano Garcia 1:26 PM, June 28, 2009  

"..You think Blake Griffin is thrilled to be playing for the worst franchise in professional sports?"

Of course not, but I think he's got no choice unless he wants to play overseas (not the case, I guess). Ricky DOES have that choice. He's been professional for a few years and still have a contract.

Anonymous 1:48 PM, June 28, 2009  

Rubio is already a pro, playing in a serious championship and earning his money. The NBA must see that the NCAA is not where the best players outside the league play and therefore change the way the draft is handle. I.e. European players are not slaves who have no choice. And there is life outside the NBA.

I think is the US problem, not the rest of the world's. And Rubio is not selfish, he is just wants the best for him as anyone does.

Brett 8:14 PM, June 28, 2009  

How is this any different than Eli Manning in 2004? Five years later it seems people have forgotten about it because he brought home a championship. San Diego did get Phil Rivers and Shaun Merriman so maybe they don't have a huge reason to be bitter, but I still remember his selfishness.

I definately agree that he is taking for granted the opportunity given him, but the system also works two ways. Yes, in this case it hurts the T-Wolves but they knew what they were getting into. And, with all these teams taking Euro "prospects" in the second round to stash them away, they're using the system to simply not pay contracts.

In reality, the NBA is the promiseland for basketball players, but the system created lets Rubio have a choice. The man is selfish but T-Wolves management made a poor choice and now are paying for it

sportsdutchman 2:28 PM, June 29, 2009  

@Brett: You can't blame the T-Wolves for taking the BPA especially when Rubio never made it publicly know he wouldn't play in Minnesota until after the draft, maybe he didn't think he'd fall that far.

Whether Rubio plays for Spain for the next year or two or he comes to the NBA its no skin off the T-Wolves back. David Kahn has said he can wait for RR, its not like they'll be contending this year anyways.

Lets say Rubio goes to Spain for the next two seasons, improves his jumpshot, adds 15-20lbs of muscle, and grows and inch or two, doesn't Minnesota have at the most a great PG playing for them or at the very least a nice asset to trade to a team he'll actually play for?

Chris 3:33 AM, June 30, 2009  

I agree, this is no different than Eli. Who cares if Rubio goes back to wherever he came from? Since when is the NBA the best league in the world? Why do you think Stern wants a team in Europe? FIBA rules are still used in the Olympics, not NBA. I have no problem with Rubio

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