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

Recently i noticed your site and even As i required My partner and i learnt around one preceding. audience social review

Excellent article. I was wondering about this so I’m very happy I found your website.lefkosa üniversitesi

That could function short-term, however it’s not really a practical long-term answer with regard to men who wish to end up being with this 1 unique woman these people can’t cease considering. mydebtconsolidationplan.com

I actually spend my little time to read the websites but this blog is quite different from others, this has helped me a lot in my work. Thanks High Domain Authority Backlinks

I actually have filtered for qualified enlightening substance of this calibre in the course of the past varied hours. buy instagram followers
| instagram likes

I don’t suppose many of websites give this kind of information. discount insurance rate

The blog is unique that’s providing the nice material. Please post more interesting articles here.million dollar business secrets reviews

I’m impressed with the special and informative contents that you just offer in such short timing.
loan until payday

Hmmm I have got real pleasure from your blog and also Derived a benefit from this information you imparted to us. Thanks
Inbox Blueprint 2.0 Bonus

Thanks for all your referrals a person provide all of us via your own weblogs. profit tab review

It will help you make your choice with confidence and without any regrets. If you are not sure about the eBook itself, then let’s first get to know about it.had me going

Rachel Anderson's Eczema Free Permanently is a popular e-book which contains years of trial and error analysis in using alternative therapeutic remedies to relieve both herself and her child of the irritating (and sometimes downright embarrassing) problem of eczema.eczema free forever scam

Fascinating information I haven’t been experienced such information in quite a long time.Inbox blueprint 2.0 review

That will operate short-term, nevertheless it’s not only a workable long-term option pertaining to folks who want to always be achievable one particular particular young lady that they can’t end thinking of. instaniche review

I was searching the blogs for a long time and that is good to know that I have found such blogs here. Great working! Keep it up! foot odor in shoes

That’s a nice site you people are carrying out there.Virtual CEO lifestyle reviews

The maker is ISO 9001 accredited that means the quality of the carbon dioxide will remain the same throughout the time. Almost all the carbon will need to complete through stringent Quality Verify before they leave our factory.activated charcoal powder australia

If somebody wants expert take on the main topic of blogging next I advise him/her to go to this site, continue the fussy job.get loan online

My own close friends are usually crazy about your website now My partner and i realize why. press label review

The Mindset Motivation Manual: Besides all the stuff, it is significantly important to keep yourself motivated. The 13 pages of this last part enable you to harness the power and ensure to keep losing weight in 3 weeks.3 week diet plan

I will need this post to total my assignment in the college, and it has exact same topic together with your write-up. movers and packers pune

Truly an incredible expansion. I have perused this great post. A debt of gratitude is in order for sharing data about it. I truly like that. Much obliged so part for your assemble. http://cccamserver16.page.tl/

What you presented was well researched and well worded in order to get your stand on this across to all your readers.. inverter price in nigeria

I use only high quality materials - you can see them at: Lovetraction Lines

I really like ones own blog post. It will be decent to find one explain in words belonging to the core and even purity in this particular very important area of interest will be readily experienced. advise enjoy blog. smar7 bundle review

It is quite beneficial, although think about the facts when it reaches this target.
elliptical vs treadmill

Your colleagues are generally raging on the subject of a items also now I just discover why. smar7 bundle

As i browse your site at working on ratings and even As i at present believe as a result pushed. As i is marketed their employment you need to do an important for one individual authoring small business and even And also evading the application. Reckon at present, considering the opinion one awarded all of us, We can give it a shot. trending traffic review

I am very enjoyed for this blog. Its an informative topic. It help me very much to solve some problems. Its opportunity are so fantastic and working style so speedy.  stock alerts 

Which can give good results short-term, and yet it’s not really plausible long-term method for the purpose of blokes who would like to turn out to be repair a particular wonderful person many can’t give up enthusiastic about. im conversion

That can job short-term, however , it’s no possible long-term choice meant for individuals who want to get the real key an individual exceptional girlfriend these can’t avoid wondering about. click here for info

This is my first time i visit here. I found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles. club party flyer templates

I have read a few of the articles on your website now, and I really like your style of blogging. I added it to my favorites blog site list and will be checking back soon. Please check out my site as well and let me know what you think.  silver candy for weddings

When you use a genuine service, you will be able to provide instructions, share materials and choose the formatting style. Corme

It’s my first time to visit this site & I’m really surprised to see such impressive stuff out there.
http://www.easyonlinepaydayloan.com

This is my first time i visit here. 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
design thinking

Hello, this weekend is good for me, since this time i am reading this enormous informative article here at my home. wholesale non lethal defense products

Welcome to the party of my life here you will learn everything about me. Red Smoothie Detox Factor

You make so many great points here that I read your article a couple of times. Your views are in accordance with my own for the most part. This is great content for your readers.
Lower Credit Card Processing

discharge. It truly is really incredible. The particular duplicate copy writer may very well be genuinely qualified.forex bonus

There is so much in this article that I would never have thought of on my own. Your content gives readers things to think about in an interesting way.
Pakistani News Channels Live

Here in this site I can see different posts. I think its providing good posts and good information. Keep up the good work.. taxi in ajmer

I actually learn your website for executing assessments plus I actually at this moment come to feel hence invited.
ez popups review

Great! We will be connecting to this enormous post on our site. Continue the good writing.club flyer

This is very appealing, however , it is very important that will mouse click on the connection:
Buy Crazy Bulk

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... scary videos

I recommend any content. It's always wonderful to work out you will explain in words from middle and additionally picture quality using this valuable content is quite simply recognized. much more information access websites. sugaring berlin wimpernverlängerung berlin

Thanks for a very interesting blog. What else may I get that kind of info written in such a perfect approach? I’ve a undertaking that I am simply now operating on, and I have been at the look out for such info. self defense shop

The complete blogs are really inconceivable and definitely everyone will share this information. cheap club flyers

On this page, you'll see my profile, please read this information. Survive In Bed