By Aldo Avinante
MANILA, Philippines – 'Cool' is a slang word connected with awesome or even great. One player currently oozing with coolness is Minnesota Timberwolves second year guard Ricky Rubio.
This Spanish sensation has turned passing into an art form. Not to disregard the work done by his predecessors but Rubio has carved his name in the NBA solely on his magical passing abilities, consisting of wrap-arounds, no-looks, needle-like precision bounce passes and alley oops from out of nowhere that are becoming a common routine in every game.
Scoring is the most glamorous stat in the NBA but people flock to the Target Center for a chance to witness the drop-down jaw passes of this Spanish wunderkind.
Rubio has been the epitome of coolness since entering the NBA, developing a cult-like following in the twin cities of Minneapolis and instigating early comparisons to lick guard, consummate showman and NBA legend Pistol Pete Maravich. Rubio has certainly not disappointed his fans’ expectations.
Ricky entered the professional world of basketball at the tender age of 14, when he played in the Spanish ACB league. So while some of you are preparing for your high school life, Rubio was already banging and grinding against players half his age.
At the age of 16, Rubio graduated from his local professional league, drawing rave reviews from scouts and critics all over the world and joined the Euro League.
He continued to razzle and dazzle while impressing everyone with his court wizardry, complemented by his slick passing skills, sick handling and an emerging signature mop top hair that sways with his every move.
The ultimate arrival at the world stage for the ball magician though is his participation at the 2008 Beijing Olympics Gold Medal basketball game. The national basketball team of Spain took on the US Redeem team in quadrennial meet.
Lo and behold, Rubio was selected when he was only 17 years old alongside proven players such as Pau and Marc Gasol, Jose Calderon, Juan Carlos Navarro and Rudy Fernandez.
Rubio defied the skeptics, deducing the fact that he is all hype. He was the youngest player to participate in the gold medal match, where played well against the likes of Jason Kidd, Chris Paul and Deron Williams, holding his own against the NBA superstars of the western hemisphere.
Ricky recently recorded his first triple-double feat courtesy of a 21-point, 12-rebound and 13-assist mastery over league leading San Antonio Spurs, resulting in a big win that is certainly one of the few bright spots in an otherwise dismal season for the Wolves.
Rest assured though that no matter what fortune is in the offing for his NBA squad, Rubio will make sure that his team will enjoy the game of basketball against all odds.
In a recent short snippet after a timeout huddle, Rubio noticed something with rookie guard Alexey Shved from Russia and gave a very thoughtful advice to his teammate.
Change your face. Be happy. Enjoy the game.
Ricky Rubio is the King of Cool.
Follow this writer on Twitter @aldoavinante
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