The wait is over! After two long years, Ricky Rubio, the Minnesota Timberwolves’ fifth overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft, has finally arrived in the North Star State. He was greeted by 200+ fans and reporters ready to give him a warm ‘Minnesota Nice’ welcome. Upon being drafted in ‘09, Rubio decided to stay in Spain to play out the remainder of his contract, which did not allow for his release until 2011, and to take time to mature as a player on the court. Below is an exclusive one-on-one interview with Ricky Rubio.
If you think two years is a long time, try roughly two decades! That’s how long the state had gone without a professional basketball team before the Timberwolves settled here. This story and more are collected in Minnesota Hoops: Basketball in the North Star State, written by Marc Hugunin and Stew Thornley.
The state’s first professional basketball team was the Minneapolis Lakers, which began competing in 1947. Sadly, the team departed in 1960 to become the present-day Los Angeles Lakers. Though the American Basketball Association attempted to make a lasting impression with the Minnesota Muskies and Minnesota Pipers, each team stayed only a year before moving elsewhere, having played in front of mostly empty seats at the Metropolitan Sports Center in Bloomington. After much patient waiting, Minnesota finally got to field a professional basketball team again when on November 3, 1989, the Timberwolves played their first regular season game against the Supersonics of Seattle. After hearing that story, two years of waiting for Ricky Rubio does not seem so bad, now does it?
To learn more about the rich history of basketball in Minnesota, be sure to check out Minnesota Hoops: Basketball in the North Star State.