Ricky Rubio details his professional basketball career and his tight bond with family members in a brutally honest essay that was posted on The Players’ Tribune website on Monday.
It’s an emotional tribute to Rubio’s late mother. The Phoenix Suns guard points out how his life didn’t just revolve around basketball in the early stages of his pro career. He explains how important his parents have always been to him in the 3,000-plus word story.
Here’s the intro: “In 2015 I moved into a new apartment that I really liked in downtown Minneapolis, not far from where the Timberwolves played. In the mornings, when the fog cleared, I could look down and see the Mississippi River. The apartment was big, but not too big. I made sure it had two bedrooms so when my mom and dad came to see me, they always had a room to themselves.”
He later explains the family bond this way: “My mom and dad, my family, that’s my team. Always been that way. I love them for it.”
It has been a few years since Rubio’s mother lost her battle with cancer. In the essay, he explains how he’s changed as a basketball player and how his perspective on life is different in 2019 than it was in the past. He also describes the emotional heartbreak that he felt.
He writes: “When someone you love dies, it’s like a fog wraps around you. That’s how it was for me. I felt so directionless. Every year, when I would go back to Minnesota for training camp, I’d begin every day the same way: FaceTiming Mama. The first season after she died, I would wake up and think about calling her. It made me want to break my phone. But I couldn’t delete her number. I even sent her text messages sometimes. I still do. For a while, I felt like I was losing my mind — like I was talking to myself.”
In another poignant passage, Rubio writes: “I went through depression. And I looked at basketball differently after that. I saw life differently. Nothing felt as serious as it used to. You know, like, we are just playing a game…. And sometimes it was a relief for me to just go out there and ball and forget about stuff. But that doesn’t work forever. I felt like I was treading water as best as I could but still drowning. I don’t know how to explain it. And I didn’t know how to fix it alone. I learned that when I finally got help — when I went to talk to a therapist.”
Rubio experienced euphoria at the 2019 FIBA World Cup, helping carry Spain to the the global title in China in September.
But there’s still an emotional void in his life without his beloved mother.
“Basketball is very important to me,” Rubio writes. “But I know I can make an impact on this world in many other ways. I know I can be many other things. And of course, one of them is still being a mama’s boy.
“Every day, I am trying to do something to make her proud.”
By all accounts, Ricky Rubio’s life is a tribute to his mother.