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Spain national team star Ricky Rubio steps away from basketball, cites mental health


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Spain national team star Ricky Rubio steps away from basketball, cites mental health

Nov 7, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Ricky Rubio (3) celebrates after scoring a three-pointer against the New York Knicks during the fourth quarter at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Schneidler-USA TODAY Sports

Dennis Schneidler/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

NBA veteran and Spain national team mainstay Ricky Rubio, a professional basketball player since age 15, steps away from the limelight to focus on his mental health

Veteran Cleveland Cavaliers and Spain national team point guard Ricky Rubio is taking a pause from basketball to concentrate on his mental health, he announced Saturday (Sunday, August 6, Manila time).

“I have decided to stop my professional activity to take care of my mental health. I want to thank all the support I have received from the [Spanish national] team to understand my decision,” Rubio said in a statement issued by the Spanish Basketball Federation.

“Today #family makes more sense than ever. Thank you. I would ask that my privacy be respected so that I can face these moments and be able to give more information when the time is right.”

Rubio was scheduled to play for defending champion Spain at the 2023 FIBA World Cup later this month. He left the team’s training camp in Madrid earlier this week.

“We were informed today by Ricky and his representation that he has decided to step away from his illustrious basketball career to focus on his mental health at this time,” said Koby Altman, president of basketball operations for the Cavaliers.

“We understand how difficult of a decision this was for him and will balance providing whatever support we can while simultaneously respecting Ricky’s request for privacy.”

Rubio, 32, has been in the public eye since he became a household name in Spain at 15, thanks to his flashy style of play.

The Timberwolves selected him with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2009 draft, but he played two more seasons in Spain before heading to the NBA. He has 698 career appearances (603 starts) with Minnesota (2011-17, 2020-21), Utah Jazz (2017-19), Phoenix Suns (2019-20) and Cleveland.

He has career averages of 10.8 points, 7.4 assists and 4.1 rebounds over 29.6 minutes per game.

In July 2022, Rubio signed a three-year, $18.44 million contract with $16.25 million in guarantees to stay with Cleveland.

But a torn ACL sustained in his first season in Cleveland limited him to 33 games (two starts) after rejoining the team in the middle of the team in the 2022-23 season. He averaged 5.2 points, 3.5 assists and 2.1 rebounds over 17.2 minutes per game. –

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