Home FIBA Jorge Garbajosa on Ricky Rubio: “We cried together”

Jorge Garbajosa on Ricky Rubio: “We cried together”

Photo: Cleveland Cavaliers/Twitter

Ricky Rubio’s return to basketball activities and inclusion in the Spanish national team roster is a significant topic for the upcoming FIBA February window. FIBA Europe president Jorge Garbajosa expresses delight at the 33-year-old point guard’s comeback after a break since August 2023.

Garbajosa recalls learning about Rubio’s decision to pause his career and prioritize mental health.

There’s a deep connection between Ricky and myself, and it was very difficult when it happened last summer. It was extremely beautiful when I received a call that he was returning because we had known each other since the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. We became extremely good friends, not only with him but also with his family and mine. So, I remember the day last July when Sergio Scariolo called me and said, ‘OK, we have a problem with Ricky.’ I drove my car as fast as I could to get to the hotel. I was talking to him, and believe me, from a professional and personal point of view, when you talk to him and feel what he’s feeling, you’re destroyed because he was in a very open and difficult mental situation. At that moment, I put all the resources of the national team and the National Federation at his disposal. I also put myself at his disposal because I went through, let’s say, a somewhat similar situation,” Garbajosa said.

The moment when Rubio informed him about his decision to return was highly emotional.

He was very close to me, and I was extremely happy when I received the call the day before he announced it publicly. We cried together, sharing an unforgettable moment. When he told me his idea was to try to be back in Barcelona as a club and to play, to attempt to play my first game with the national team, you cannot imagine it was perfect. It was perfect because of him, as he feels way better when he is thinking of coming back, and as a former president of the national authorities of Spain, he feels like the family’s true. It’s a real concept. Him wanting to come back to play with the national team is amazing.”

Rubio is among the players listed by Sergio Scariolo for the upcoming matches against Latvia on February 22 and Belgium on February 25.

Obviously, as president of FIBA Europe, these windows are very special because finally, we can have the early players and so on. Can you imagine how important it is for me that Ricky is back, and he’s back in the national team game? It’s a window game, playing for EuroBasket qualification. It’s perfect. I cannot be happier, and I cannot be prouder of Ricky,” Garbajosa concluded.

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