In a life tortured by depression, Spain’s “golden boy” Rubio bids farewell to the game

During the Men’s Basketball World Cup last year, a Rubio jersey was always hanging in the Spanish team’s locker room.

One month before the start of the game, the 33-year-old Rubio announced his retirement from the Spanish national team, but no one blamed him. Coach Sergio Scariolo even said: “We must be as close to him as possible, encourage him and support him. Now, the most important thing is not to disturb him and wait for him to have the energy to enjoy basketball again. “

It’s just that everyone failed to wait until Rubio returned to the game – on January 5, Rubio published a long post on social media announcing his retirement from the NBA.

Goodbye, Rubio.

“It all started in June 2009, draft night in New York. It was a dream to play in the NBA for 12 years.”

“Thank you to Minnesota, Utah, Phoenix and Cleveland, especially the last stop in Cleveland. Thank you to everyone for your love and support!”

But unlike most people, the reason that prompted Rubio to stay away from the game was not injuries and age, but mental health.

When Rubio was 18 years old, he became the main point guard of the Spanish team.

The most difficult night

On July 31, 2023, one month before the start of the Men’s Basketball World Cup, Rubio issued a statement: “I have decided to suspend my basketball career to focus on my mental health. I would like to thank the Spanish Basketball Association for their support of my decision. Understanding and support are more relevant today than ever.”

According to Rubio, the day before making the decision was one of the most difficult nights of his life.

“July 30th was one of the hardest nights of my life. My mind went into darkness. I seemed to know that I would go down that road, but I never thought that I would not be able to control the situation. The next day , I decided to end my career.”

But he did not go into detail about the process. “When the time comes, I would like to share my entire experience with everyone so that I can help other people who have gone through similar situations.”

“Until then, out of respect for my family and myself, I wish to maintain privacy on this matter while I remain focused on improving my mental health.”

Rubio was drafted by the Timberwolves in 2009.

Thus, Rubio’s basketball career was finalized.

Since being selected by the Timberwolves with the fifth overall pick in the first round of 2009, Rubio has played in the NBA for 15 seasons and played in a total of 698 regular season games. He averaged 10.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, 7.4 assists, and 1.8 steals per game. His footprints are everywhere. Timberwolves, Jazz, Suns and Cavaliers.

This young man who made his La Liga debut at the age of 14 and became the starting point guard in the Olympic finals at the age of 18 is no longer the handsome “golden boy”, but a man who has been playing professionally for 20 years, with long hair and a full beard. veteran.

At this stage of life, basketball is no longer everything to Rubio. How to find and reconcile with himself is the most important thing.

In the 2019 Men’s Basketball World Cup, Rubio led the Spanish team to win the championship.

His mother died and he suffered from depression

For Rubio, the change came in 2016, the year Rubio’s mother died of cancer. As Rubio said: “Having an experience like this changes your life and changes your perspective on life.”

In 2012, Rubio suffered season-ending injuries to his anterior cruciate ligament and lateral collateral ligament while guarding Kobe Bryant, and he missed the London Olympics as a result. But what was even more difficult to accept than his injury was that his mother was diagnosed with lung cancer.

At first, Rubio was angry about his mother’s illness. “Why her? Why would a non-smoking woman get lung cancer at this age?”

Rubio admitted that after that, he was often distracted by his mother’s situation and often blamed basketball. “After a game, I would be in a hotel in a certain city and think to myself: ‘ Man, what am I doing here? I should be with her’.”

Rubio’s mother sadly passed away in May 2016 after a four-year battle with lung cancer. And this is not the first time that cancer has taken away relatives around Rubio – his grandmother died of liver cancer when he was 10 years old, and his grandfather died of lung cancer two years later. Seven months before his mother’s death, Rubio’s Timberwolves coach Flip Saunders also passed away from lymphoma…

Sanders’ death occurred three days before the start of the 2015 season. As soon as Rubio heard the news, he immediately called his father to ask about his mother’s condition.

“Everyone is sad, but my mood is different from everyone else’s. All I think about is my mother. Is my mother okay, but Sanders is gone? Everything happened so fast, there was no time to mentally build up. ” Rubio recalled in a handwritten letter to Star Stand.

At that time, Rubio’s mother was not in good condition. When talking to him on the phone, she would even interrupt the conversation because she suddenly vomited.

During the All-Star Weekend of that season, even though he only had 4 days of vacation, Rubio still spent 17 hours rushing back to Spain. “When my mother opened the door and saw her face… it was the best feeling in the world. “

But Rubio’s efforts still failed to save his mother’s life, and Rubio was tortured by his mother’s death and suffered from depression.

“Sometimes playing ball takes your mind off things, and that’s a relief for me, but it doesn’t always work. I feel like I’m trying my best to tread water, but I’m still drowning in it.”

After his mother died, Rubio began to get tattoos, grow a full beard, and grow his hair long.

It’s like my mother is beside me

In June 2016, a month after losing his mother, Rubio suddenly made an uncharacteristic move – he contacted several friends to go skydiving together.

As a professional athlete, extreme sports such as skydiving are often not allowed, but considering that Rubio once had the idea of ​​jumping off a building, it seems that this is the only way to allow him to face his emotions.

This idea frightened his relatives and friends, and the coach once wanted him to give up the trip, but Rubio pleaded: “Just try it, let me try it, what if there is no tomorrow?”

Since his mother passed away, he has begun to change his look – he started getting tattoos, growing a full beard, growing his hair long, and living in an apartment with friends, things his mother would never have allowed him to do during her lifetime. .

“My mother doesn’t like me growing a beard. She always tells me to shave it off,” Rubio said with a smile in an interview with “Bleacher Report.” “That’s why I grew my hair. My mother gave me hair when I was little. I wash my hair and always tuck it into a ball. But now every time I rub my hair, I feel like my mother is beside me.”

In 2017, Rubio was traded to the Jazz. That year, the Jazz’s jersey sponsor was “5 FOR THE FIGHT”, a charity that researches cancer.

From that year on, he and his dad visited several different hospitals in Utah and began creating his own foundation.

“I wanted to create a foundation where everyone felt like it was their own,” Rubio said. “I wanted to use the platform of NBA players to raise money for social causes, and that’s how I got my fill. I knew that’s what my mom wanted. Yes, she is by my side.”

Now, although Rubio, who has fallen into emotion again, has left the game, he seems to be in a smooth process of reconciling with himself. As he said in the statement: “I can proudly say that I am much better now, and every day It’s all getting better.”

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