Ricky Rubio will be wearing a Justin Bieber backpack the rest of the year (Picture)

Not even star players from foreign countries are immune to a little rookie hazing. Timberwolves forward Kevin Love tweeted Sunday that teammate Ricky Rubio would be wearing the Justin Bieber backpack seen above for the rest of the season. It’s a funny idea on the surface, but how about a little originality, guys. We’ve seen that exact same backpack used before for rookie hazing.

While this may be embarrassing, Rubio got off easily — at least he didn’t have to dress up as Lady Gaga.

Picture Credit: Kevin Love

Kobe Bryant and Ricky Rubio Talk Trash About Olympics (Video)

The Timberwolves held their own in a 106-101 loss to the Lakers on Sunday night.  With fellow countrymen Pau Gasol and Ricky Rubio sharing the court, some friendly trash talk was expected.  I’m sure there was some chatter going back and forth in Spanish during the game, but the trash talking was done after the game.  When Kobe Bryant passed Gasol and Rubio in the hallway, he and Rubio threw some friendly jabs about the Olympics back and forth.  Check out this video that Marca.com shared with us:

“You talking about London?,” Bryant asked Gasol and Rubio outside the locker rooms of the Target Center.

“Oh yeah,” Gasol said.

“You’re gonna be there?” Rubio asked Bryant.

Kobe said that he was, to which Rubio responded: “You know you’re getting the silver medal. You know that.”

“S*** . I’m taking bets! … If I win I get the keys to Barcelona.” Kobe fired back

Nice to see the new guy isn’t intimidated by the best player in the NBA.

H/T to Sporting News and Hoops Hype

Gregg Popovich Basically Says Other Cultures are Way Better Than American

Gregg Popovich has some advice for Ricky Rubio and any other international players who are looking to adjust to life in America: don’t do it.  When superstars from overseas come to America to play in the NBA, one of the topics we always love to beat into the ground is whether or not they’ll be able to adjust to a new lifestyle.  According to Popovich, they shouldn’t even try to make the adjustment.

“These guys, they travel around the world,” Popovich said after the Timberwolves beat the Spurs on Monday according to the Star Tribune. “They’re more cultured than we are. Everyone acts like Americans are the ones … we have sort of an arrogance about us. Like we’re the cultured ones? Are you serious? Have you watched TV lately? Have you seen what Americans do? How many languages do you speak? And you wonder how they’re going to adjust to our culture? I hope they avoid it and keep their own!”

Well played, Pop.  That is some serious advice from a veteran NBA coach who has won multiple championships.  Forget about trying to do the Dougie and ignore those folks at the airport giving you the rock star treatment. Pay no attention to the grueling NBA schedule.

As far as Minnesota fans are concerned, Rubio has been adjusting fairly well.  He has been particularly good late in games and seems like a natural fit with the T-Wolves.  Maybe he has already taken Pop’s advice.

Chest bump to Pro Basketball Talk for the quote

Ricky Rubio Attempts the Dougie But Looks Like He’s Combing His Hair (Video)

Being that this is Ricky Rubio’s first year playing basketball in the United States, his teammates have no choice but to subject him to a little rookie hazing.  The Timberwolves had a 10-minute scrimmage on Monday and decided to have a little fun with their new point guard after it was over.  According to the Pioneer Press, they wanted Rubio to sing the National Anthem but he didn’t know all the words.  That’s when they decided to force him to sing Happy Birthday to a fan (which you see to the right) and then dance to America’s second-favorite song of 2011.  Check out this Ricky Rubio Dougie video:

And he thought the NBA schedule was difficult? Apparently Rubio thinks the Dougie is some sort of ritual during which you comb your hair, which I guess isn’t all that far from the truth.  The good news is his Dougie wasn’t even as bad as Drew Stanton’s and it definitely wasn’t as creepy as John Wall’s. Fortunately for Rubio, 2011 is almost over.  When 2012 hits we hope expect the Dougie to never been spoken of again.

Ricky Rubio is Shocked by the Diffculty of the NBA Schedule

With so many games in an NBA season and a countless amount of players who just coast along, we don’t often think of the NBA schedule as being particularly rigorous.  Teams like the Celtics don’t even try until the postseason comes around, so it doesn’t really matter to them if they have a west coast road trip or games on consecutive nights.  For someone like Ricky Rubio who isn’t used to basketball in America, the NBA schedule is apparently a challenge.

“Yesterday I was looking at my schedule and putting it in my iPad and I was saying 16, 17, 18,” Rubio said according to Timberwolves.com. “I mean, three games in a row? What the hell?”

Rubio was making a joke of course, but it’s still interesting to see the culture change between playing overseas and playing here.  If you remember, Rubio also said that he hadn’t spent much time playing with his teammates during the lockout because he didn’t have their phone numbers.  Between the disconnect with his team and the shock over a busy NBA schedule, you have to wonder if it’s going to take Ricky a year or so to acclimate before becoming an effective player in the league.

Ricky Rubio Hasn’t Practiced with Teammates Because He Doesn’t Have Their Numbers

For someone like Ricky Rubio who is looking to adjust to life in the NBA, the lockout is probably particularly annoying.  Every player in the league has to find ways to keep themselves occupied and some even have to figure out how to manage their funds, but for a rookie who is new to America business as usual would be a plus.  According to the Star Tribune, Rubio has not had the chance to spend much time with his teammates over the offseason.

If he had a way to get a hold of them, it might be a different story.

“I would love to talk with all the guys, but I don’t have their number,” he said. “I will soon.”

Rubio was given quite the warm welcome from T-Wolves fans when arrived in Minnesota, but apparently he hasn’t done much bonding with the guys he’ll be playing with.  He did say that he played with a handful of teammates the week of the draft and spent some time working with other players to try to learn as much about NBA basketball that he can.  He should probably start sending a couple texts while he’s at it.

Ricky Rubio Receives Rock Star’s Welcome at Airport in Minnesota

Ricky Rubio was drafted 5th overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2009 NBA Draft but he waited two years before officially deciding to play in the NBA. There was speculation that Rubio didn’t want to play in Minnesota, that he was upset they drafted two more point guards in the same draft, and that he needed more experience in Europe before coming to the States. The patience by Minnesota’s organization paid off; Rubio announced last week he had reached a deal to play in the NBA. The flashy point guard finally arrived in Minnesota Monday and received the reception of a rock star. Check the pictures courtesy of the Minnesota Timberwolves twitter page (video below):

So Minnesota now has a superstar. With Kevin Love last season and Rubio deciding to play for the team next year, the T-Wolves should no longer be a doormat. Calling them a playoff team seems like a stretch, but there is little doubt they should be vastly improved. And you better believe Minnesota is stoked about the news — they already have a special Ricky Rubio ticket package available to fans.

Chest bump to Myles Brown who’s all over Rubio’s arrival

UPDATE - Video of Ricky Rubio’s arrival in Minnesota below courtesy of Tom Pelissero:

[Read more...]