The Importance of Being Ricky

Ricky Rubio is doing something beautiful.
Share |

The Timberwolves don’t have numbers, and the Thunder have cut off the passing lane to the streaking Derrick Williams on the wing. Reason would dictate that Ricky Rubio, who is pushing the ball up the floor in the fourth quarter of his first NBA game, should pull the ball back and initiate the half-court offense. Instead, with a subtle shift of his body toward the middle of the floor, Rubio creates enough space between two Thunder defenders to thread a one-handed bounce pass to Williams, who throws down an easy reverse dunk.

Two games later, now. Norris Cole and Udonis Haslem of the Miami Heat attempt to trap Rubio as he crosses the three-point line at the right elbow extended. Rubio attacks Haslem with a crossover, then gently angles his body away from the basket and throws a perfectly nonchalant, completely impossible 25-foot, over-the-shoulder, cross-court backdoor alley-oop to Anthony Randolph. It is worth noting that at almost no point in the play did Randolph appear to be open.

One game after that. This time, Rubio is driving baseline against Brian Cardinal of the Mavericks. As Dirk Nowitzki attempts to help at the rim, Rubio calmly bounces the ball between Dirk’s legs, to the waiting Anthony Tolliver, who hits a game-sealing three pointer. Tolliver runs down the court laughing to himself like a man who absolutely cannot believe his miraculous good fortune.

It's a reasonable enough response, considering, and Wolves fans have mirrored Tolliver’s stupefied joy through the early part of Rubio's rookie season. When Ricky Rubio steps to the scorer’s table, they chant his name. When he does anything even remotely positive on the court, they swoon and gasp. It’s a real old-fashioned romance, and it's a little surprising, honestly.

It might seem odd that a people as relentlessly tight-lipped and steadfastly khaki’ed as Minnesotans would be so enthralled with a cosmopolitan, flouncy-haired Spaniard like Rubio. Historically, our predilection for the rugged and the tirelessly self-sacrificing has inclined us toward workmanlike power forwards and away from expressive, freewheeling guards. Thus, our devotion to Kevins Garnett and Love, as well as, much more embarrassingly, Mark Madsen and any number of not-so-worthy professional hockey players.

But our famous stoicism can often double as a kind of covert optimism. The mantra “it coulda been worse”—which is what you say when a tornado destroys your crops, or someone falls through the ice but does not die—is another way of saying, “things could maybe get better.” And like everybody everywhere, we tend to invest that optimism in our elite athletes. Amid a nightmarish 60-loss season, we went berserk for Kevin Love’s double-double streak, an insignificant feat if there ever was one. University of Minnesota fans give Tubby Smith standing ovations. We’re dying to love you.

Unfortunately, following the Wolves has deeply challenged and distorted that optimism. Over the team’s 22-year existence, its fans have been presented with exactly one great gift, one magnificently fruitful gamble. That, of course, was the teenaged Kevin Garnett; the Wolves rode his radiant, raging aura for a dozen star-crossed seasons. But a decade of craven, shortsighted management, of layer upon layer of foolish decisions, effectively squandered Garnett’s prime. The defining discourse of the KG years was always ultimately one of disappointment, of opportunities missed and talent and beauty wasted. The years since then have been like a nauseous hangover from that terrible party. Cynicism has become the rule. 

Through sheer virtuosic generosity, Ricky Rubio may be changing all that. The easiest, most reductive, way to explain Rubio’s sudden rise is that he is a passer—and white Midwesterners, valuing selflessness and generosity as they claim to do, love passers. We love the extra pass and the “right play,” those well-worn virtues. And this is understandable; after all, the aggregate of many uncreative but purposeful passes can be a thing of economical, Spurs-ian beauty. But this is not exactly what Rubio does. Because while the “right” pass—the well-executed entry pass, say, or the crisp, timely ball rotation—is, like a folk dance or a hymn, satisfying in its graceful predictability, greatpasses actually disrupt our expectations.

Great passes come just before, or just after, we expect; or they are delivered from an unconventional spot on the floor, or at an impossible angle, or travel some exotic trajectory (for example, through Dirk Nowitzki’s legs) en route to some unforeseen recipient. They can even, as with Ricky’s ridiculous lob to Anthony Randolph, do all of the above. Incredibly, for all of its exotic disruptions, a great pass, like a magic trick or a joke, usually ends with some dumbly obvious result: a dunk; an uncontested layup; a wide-open corner three. This is the real thrill: a great pass only reveals something that (we feel) should have been plainly before our eyes all along.

Rubio’s vision gives him prior access to this revelation. He sees passing lanes before they develop; he grasps how his own movements will influence those of the other nine players on the floor; he envisions the exact moment when a defender will begin to lean in the wrong direction. His apparent nonchalance isn’t arrogance, then, but an honest depiction of the ease with which he sees the game’s flows and contours. Many great passers—Magic and Bird, the young Jason Williams, among others—took it upon themselves to dazzle and deceive. Their passes were performances, expressions of joy (in Magic’s case) or malice (in Bird’s: “How much better? This much better…”) or pure berserk swag (The Dude with the WHIT EBOY tattoo). But a Ricky Rubio assist is a simple, generous act of communication: “this is what I saw.” And he sees it all as naturally and fluently as you see yourself in the mirror.

When the ball leaves Rubio’s hand (or Chris Paul’s or Steve Nash’s, who share both Rubio’s vision and his humility), we are treated to a moment of suspended disbelief. For that moment, the play’s outcome is both eminent and partially hidden, left to our imaginations. The entire game’s fullness can seem to flower within that one tiny instant. It is a moment of great possibility and therefore of great hope. That Rubio is able to offer such thrilling, repeatedly rewarded hope explains both Anthony Tolliver’s laughter and the gleeful reception Rubio has been given in Minnesota. This hope is a rebuke to the years of disappointment, the false promises and deadening, grey futility of the post-KG era.

No one believes (or should believe) that Rubio has been miraculously birthed into the NBA a complete player. His shooting, though it has exceeded expectations, remains as unlovely and inconsistent as advertised. His unfamiliarity with the league’s level of quickness and athleticism has produced an impressive haul of turnovers and shots blocked at the rim. Surrounded by the preposterous physical specimens that populate the NBA, he looks less like the second coming of Magic and more like somebody’s skinny little cousin. But, somehow, this weird dissonance—between his preternatural court sense and the unfinished quality of his game, between his on-court self-possession and his ingenuous, cusp-of-manhood good looks—only adds to the appeal. His shortcomings imply nothing so much as the possibility of growth. His entire presence—his physical adolescence, his exploratory style—exudes possibility. It’s enough to awaken the sleeping optimist in any of us.


Share |

Comments

Actually I am not habituate to reply a comment on blogs but this blog caught my attention and I am compelled to write a comment here to express my gratitude to you. I would like to appreciate for this awesome work. italian brand handbags

Amazing in support of me to truly have a blog site, which will be valuable meant for my knowledge. Thanks admin. amazing selling machine

Fabulous .. Astounding .. I'll bookmark your online journal and take the sustains likewise… I'm cheerful to discover such a large number of helpful information here in the post, we need work out more procedures in such manner, much obliged for sharing. home care in st croix

commercial enterprise advertising and marketing device is an integrated marketing gadget consulting agency, specialised in the use of generation-based totally answers thru connecting the "dots" and creating "a loop." compare seo packages

Having such type of incredible blogs provoking the people to come and visit this site and comment. Thanks for all. Loftplan

I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well. satta matka

This is a great inspiring article.I am pretty much pleased with your good work.You put really very helpful information...
men's undershirts that stay tucked in

Thanks for a wonderful share. Your article has proved your hard work and experience you have got in this field. Brilliant .i love it reading.
voyance gratuite

I imagine that much obliged for the valuabe data and bits of knowledge you have so given here.
increase domains authority

Very useful post. This is my first time i visit here. I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially its discussion. Really its great article. Keep it up.
diabetes tipos

Positive site, where did u come up with the information on this posting? I'm pleased I discovered it though, ill be checking back soon to find out what additional posts you include. Are really brilliant! Dofollow Blog Comments

I feel strongly about this and so really like getting to know more on this kind of field Roofer Colorado Springs

We organically boost your IMDB ranking. And while we’re at it, we’ll even increase your social media following too. Towing Colorado Springs

This is one of the most important blogs that I have seen, keep it up!
shopping

Wonderful, just what a blog it is! This blog has provided the helpful data to us continue the good work. I definitely enjoying every little bit of it. It is a great website and nice share. I want to thank you. Good job! You guys do a great blog, and have some great contents. Keep up the good work. 100% Manually, So your site is safe you can get all HQ links, that definitely increase your SERPs. 20 High Quality Backlinks gig Only for fiverr members just for 5$ WOww...high trust flow backlinks

Just saying thanks wouldn’t just be enough, for the fantastic fluency in your writing.
Chris Walker - hire Denver SEO agency

Thank you for another great article. Where else could anyone get that kind of information in such a perfect way of writing? I have a presentation next week, and I am on the look for such information. Switzerland Sightseeing

Nice post! You have really made your efforts to make this post. Love this
shopping

Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me. helpful beauty tips

Thanks to have a great blog, everyone will be in love with this blog writing surely because it has quality stuff.
do my essay

You know your projects stand out of the herd. There is something special about them. It seems to me all of them are really brilliant! shipping company

Having such type of incredible blogs provoking the people to come and visit this site and comment. Thanks for all
Chris Walker - best SEO consultant

I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the enjoyment here! keep up the good work... OC Graphic Design Services

This is a great article thanks for sharing this informative information. I will visit your blog regularly for some latest post. I will visit your blog regularly for Some latest post. Check this site

seo I really loved reading your blog. It was very well authored and easy to understand. Unlike other blogs I have read which are really not that good. visit this site hurry up waiting your order low obl unique domain Thanks alot! dofollow blog comments

the waiting Anthony Tolliver, who hits a game-sealing three pointer. Tolliver runs down the court laughing to himself like a man who absolutely cannot believe his miraculous good fortune.طراحی سایت

No doubt this is an excellent post I got a lot of knowledge after reading good luck. Theme of blog is excellent there is almost everything to read, Brilliant post. info about sohum mehta

the waiting Anthony Tolliver, who hits a game-sealing three pointer. Tolliver runs down the court laughing to himself like a man who absolutely cannot believe his miraculous good fortune.buy youtube views usa

the waiting Anthony Tolliver, who hits a game-sealing three pointer. Tolliver runs down the court laughing to himself like a man who absolutely cannot believe his miraculous good fortune.پخش پنیر پیتزا

the waiting Anthony Tolliver, who hits a game-sealing three pointer. Tolliver runs down the court laughing to himself like a man who absolutely cannot believe his miraculous good fortune.diabetes

As Dirk Nowitzki attempts to help at the rim, Rubio calmly bounces the ball between Dirk’s legs, to the waiting Anthony Tolliver, who hits a game-sealing three pointer. Tolliver runs down the court laughing to himself like a man who absolutely cannot believe his miraculous good fortune.minecraft gratuit |
free psn codes

He also avoids using unnecessary dog training methods, even if they’re not cruel. For example, many dog trainers use clickers, which don’t hurt the dog in any way but instead click in order to communicate with the dog. eubookshop

Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I'll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon. Big thanks for the useful info. watch this video

Fine site and the great level of quality information plus I’m convinced this is considerably handy. handcrafted jewelry

You will find a lot of approaches after visiting your post. I was exactly searching for. Thanks for such post and please keep it up. SB Game Hacker Download

That's the reason it is best that you ought to appropriate investigation prior to composing. It is possible to create much better publish by doing this. rn ceu

Buy backlinks I was very pleased to find this site. I definitely enjoying every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post Dofollow Blog Comments

Comprar favoritos en twitter a buen precio desde 99 cents. Aumentar vos alance en Twitter con nuestros favoritos de alta calidad.comprar favoritos twitter

Absolutely, you were best suited dealing feel authentic at the covers only to find they land up in no way presenting nearly as good a good quality like they promise. gold plating service

As i considered together your site because May possibly learned a lot of around ones own content articles. halloween

I believe your site is precisely exactly what I've been searching for; this solutions a lot of associated with my personal queries. authority site review

I've got to look for internet sites using pertinent home elevators granted theme and still provide the crooks to tutor each of our thoughts and opinions plus the content. sherryslife

That'sthe reason advertising and marketing that you suitable homework in advance of crafting. It is also possible to jot down improved posting with this. Cotton Necktie

That's why marketing and advertising that you simply applicable exploration previous to publishing. It will be easy to write down superior write-up that way. Bill Twyford

I highly recommend you continue on the following superb deliver the results plus I actually look ahead to extra within your magnificent articles. plumber 

Produce additional content for this theme you do have a fantastic notion for you to promote writters. Post worldwide ads

 This looks absolutely perfect. All these tiny details are made with lot of background knowledge. I like it a lot carports austin tx

Worldwide adult directory containing listings for independent escorts, escort agencies, fetish and massage professionals arranged by location.http://nyasianoutcall.com/ for details and insights
World independent escort service

I appreciate everything you have added to my knowledge base.Admiring the time and effort you put into your blog and detailed information you offer.Thanks.
Fibromyalgia Symptoms

I really enjoy simply reading all of your weblogs. slots