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Timberwolves Ricky Rubio Receives Minnesota Stars Championship Jersey

2011 December 20

Rick Rubio (left) receives a customized Minnesota Stars jersey from Kevin Friedland

There’s a buzz about the NBA’s Timberwolves that Minnesotans have not seen for years. The reason? The T-Wolves finally landed young Spanish basketball star Ricky Rubio, who they had drafted in 2009 but were not able to land for contractual reasons.

The Barcelona native has been playing for a team we soccer supporters all know and admire, FC Barcelona. However, Rubio played for the basketball side of the sporting club.

The Timberwolves were finally able to cut a deal with the 21-year-old and he’s been creating a stir with his outstanding play in the short while the NBA has been preparing for their shortened season after an extended player strike.

On Tuesday the Wolves held an open practice for the general public. Rubio did not practice for precautionary reasons after getting a bit banged up in scrimmage against the Bucks over the weekend. But he did some work after the official training session and Kevin Friedland, Stars player/assistant-coach, tagged along with Stars supporter and La Voz Latina reporter Henry Torres, who had suggested to the Stars defender and front office promotional man, that he come along to the practice.

After waiting a considerable amount of time Friedland was able to talk to Rubio and present him with his own personalized NASL Championship 2011 Minnesota Stars jersey. Rubio chatted with Friedland for a while and asked about the Stars’ season and indicated he would like to come out and watch the team play this spring.

You just never know who you might see at a Minnesota Stars game.

12 Responses
  1. smatthew permalink
    December 20, 2011

    That is freaking sweet. Kevin is a valueable asset to this club.

  2. December 20, 2011

    He is indeed!

  3. Strikers Return permalink
    December 20, 2011

    Excellent job by Friedland and the Stars. The ticket purchases by the other pro teams in Minnesota for the finals last year was a tremendous idea to create more awareness for the team, and things like this help too. A picture of the new NBA star in town holding a Stars jersey in the local papers, or even better, on the evening news sports cast, are invaluable. It would be awesome if they could actually get him out to a game or two.

    I hope the opener at the Metrodome is a huge success for the team. Saturday night in downtown, the T’wolves and Twins are both on the road, they’ll be front and center as far as pro sports that night. The Wild are playing, but it’s the last game of the year, and based on their play so far this year, you’d have to think they’d have the playoffs locked up at that point. Anyway, the Stars have a great opportunity to build some awareness for themselves that night, and I hope it works. Would love to see them build on the Championship last year with an increase at the gate, with sponsors, and hopefully with some investor interest. Hearing anything on this at all lately BQ?

  4. yankiboy permalink
    December 20, 2011

    Very smart move and really cheap (as in inexpensive). Nice.

    “The T-Wolves finally landed young Spanish basketball star Ricky Rubio who they had drafted in 2009 but were not able to land for contractual reasons…”

    That is a very diplomatic way of saying that Dude reportedly could have gotten out of his deal sooner but he didn’t want to because he allegedly wanted to go someplace sexy like LA, NYC, Miami or Chicago.

    I saw that kid play with Barcelona and the Spanish National team. Sometimes he looks fantastic, other times he looks like a guy who’s just trying to make the highlights and makes some inexplicable decisions on the court. Yep. He might just fit in very well in the NBA, afterall.

  5. Wayne Hill permalink
    December 20, 2011

    Look! A Wolves player is holding a championship jersey! Ha! Great move by the Stars and nice to see some cross polination.

  6. uhclem permalink
    December 20, 2011

    Any ink at this time is good ink, but still…

    Or for those not inclined to follow the link…

    Friedland, a defender for the Stars, was joined in the presentation along with Henry Torres, senior marketing consultant for La Voz Latina, a Hispanic newspaper headquartered in West St. Paul. A reporter from the newspaper later conducted an interview in Spanish with Rubio, who grew up in Barcelona but said he had a limited soccer career.

    “I used to play soccer and basketball when I was a kid,” Rubio said. “When I was about 10, I decided to just play basketball. Soccer was kind of boring. You run around for five minutes before somebody scores.”

    In some areas, the Stars just can’t seem to catch a break.

  7. December 20, 2011

    Why do I get the feeling that Richards quite enjoyed writing that.

  8. uhclem permalink
    December 20, 2011


    Or, quoting…

    Friedland gave Rubio a personalized Stars jersey. Afterward Rubio was asked if he played soccer growing up in Spain. “I was playing both basketball and soccer,” he said. “I decided to play soccer, because all of my friends were playing soccer. But after two months, or a month, I went to my mom and I said I didn’t like soccer, I prefer to play basketball. I think I make right decision.”‘

    That happened when Rubio was about 10 years old. And why didn’t he like soccer? “Soccer was kind of boring,” Rubio said. “Because, sometimes, when you don’t score, you don’t touch the ball for five minutes. You’re running and not touching the ball…”

    So, the two dailies, plus Rubio’s honest but unintentionally insensitive replies to an interviewer, continue to spread the word that soccer is boring. Brilliant.

    Not what we were going for, I suspect.

  9. Soccer Boy permalink
    December 20, 2011

    Kudos to Coach Kevin for his creative publicity ideas. I saw some of his Tweets, and glad there is now a story and picture. I know Djorn gave a jersey to Conan. I think the Stars should print up a #44 jersey and put “POTUS” on the back and see if SuperRookie can scale the fence at the White House and deliver it to President Obama. Now that one would be sure to make national news and give the team the added publicity bump.

  10. yankiboy permalink
    December 20, 2011

    Thanks uhclem-I have NEVER like Ricky Rubio, anyways. I used to see him get all the commentators attention and look mediocre in the weekly EuroLeague match that NBA tv shows. Overhyped up until now. Sure, he’s had his moments with the Spanish national teams but he wasn’t exactly setting the world on fire when he was playing for Regal Barcelona.

    I aprreciate the guy’s honesty and I got some honesty for him:

    He’s incredibly lucky that he was born a Spaniard because I don’t think that he would have gotten a serious look from the NBA. If he got a look, he’d be getting some seasoning in the NBDL.

    That’s right–I said it. Take the same kid, with the same physical features and let him be from Minnesota or Iowa and see if he gets the kind of hype and love that Rubio has gotten. There aren’t a lot of Steve Blakes in the “association”.

    Maybe Steve Blake should have been born in Europe because, all things being equal, even with his National Championship with Maryland, he is still a rare event.

    I understand that they are two completely different players, with completely different skill sets and positions but I’ll take a Kevin Love over freakin’ Ricky Rubio any day of the week.

    I don’t give a *!$@ about Ricky Rubio!!! Boring soccer helped pay his wages with Regal barcelona, you take away the football part of that machine and his behind might as well still have been playing for Joventut.

    Ricky can be honest. Cool. Refreshing. I can be honest too…

  11. smatthew permalink
    December 20, 2011

    Soccer boy’s comment reminded me of something; have the Stars got to meet Gov. Dayton yet? I know the Thunder got to meet Governor Ventura after winning the A-League, Soccer USA had (maybe still has?) a picture of the team with him… Or did something go right over my head and people nicknamed Gov. Dayton Conan.

  12. December 20, 2011

    I’m not aware of him doing so or being renamed for that matter. 🙂

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