Ricky Rubio, Regal FC Barcelona

Mar 15, 2010 by Print
Ricky Rubio - Regal FC BarcelonaAt the age of 19, having started the most games of anyone this season on the Euroleague team with the best record so far, Ricky Rubio of Regal FC Barcelona enters his first playoff round in Europe's top competition on Tuesday. On the day before he and Barcelona open their five-game quarterfinal series at home against archrival Real Madrid, Rubio took time out to answer questions sent last week by Euroleague fans from a wide variety of countries. What is most clear from those questions is that fans are fascinated by this teen prodigy who nonetheless seems to be almost like a veteran, both in the way he plays and the way he carries himself. What is most clear from his answers is that Rubio identifies with those fans and has molded his game not only to be successful at the highest level, but to entertain them, too. "I like the way I play and this is what I have done since I was a kid - I try to enjoy myself by making people enjoy themselves," Rubio said in a Fan Mail answer. "I have to keep working to show my fans that I like basketball and to make them want to enjoy it, as well."

Ricky, congratulations on a great season with Barca so far. My question: What do you remember as your best game ever? Thank you!

Adam Mikelevic - Lithuania

"Well, personally, I don't think I had a game to remember in term of numbers. I have tried to go step by step, working hard for the team. As a team, however, if I have to pick one it would be the Olympic final against the United States due to the importance of it. This is the one I would choose, even when I cannot forget the Spanish King's Cup victories in Vitoria, with DKV Joventut, or this season in Bilbao, with Regal FCB. We won titles in those games, unlike in Beijing. So those will be always games to remember."

Ricky, what is the most incredible moment you have had in the world of basketball? How do you feel known that you more and more European and American fans follow you? Kisses from a big fan,

Claudia Jiménez Gil - Gran Canaria, Spain

"Like I said before, these three games have been the best moments, especially the Olympic final, which is the maximum goal for any athlete. It was a very nice experience. As for having fans in Europe and America, it means I am doing things the right way. I have to keep working to show my fans that I like basketball and to make them want to enjoy it, as well."

Ricky Rubio and Juan Carlos Navarro celebrates - Regal FC BarcelonaHi Ricky! Which contributes most to your extraordinary passing ability - natural instinct or ball-handling training? Your passing ability is really uncommon and wonderful! Congratulations!

Valerio D'Angelo - Italy

"A little bit of everything. If you have work hard on precision and ballhandling and if you practice well, you can reach a very high level. You also need to have your own imagination and creativity, which you can improve by seeing videos and trying to do the same that you see in practices and in games. When you play at this level, it is difficult to risk that much, but as a beginner, like when I played for Joventut's youth teams, I used to practice them a lot. It was difficult to perfect those passes - but it all paid off."

Ricky, in what European arena do you think it is hardest to play?

Miroslav Ilic - Serbia

"It's just a coincidence that you are from Serbia, huh? (laughs) I guess you have to be a Partizan fan! Well, playing against Partizan on the road is always difficult. It has been our only Euroleague loss so far this season. I have played at Pionir three times throughout my career, and Partizan's fans always support their team well. It is very difficult to play there. There are many other difficult courts, but that one is special."

Hey Ricky, great job in the Top 16! How do you view your future development as a player. Do you plan to stick to what you do best and improve it even farther, or do you plan to change your game? Keep balling, you are the best!

Matey Kirilov - Russia

"I like the way I play, and this is what I have done since I was a kid. I try to enjoy myself by making people enjoy themselves. I try to improve and become a better player, which is what it is all about. You have to pick up the playing style you like and use it to help the team as much as you can. You also have to improve as years go by, of course."

Greetings from Cyprus. Ricky, which was the best opponent you faced until now and which teams you consider to be favorites for this year's Final Four?

Giorgos Aristotelous - Cyprus

"Well, at my early age I have already faced players like Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant. They were really good players. At the European level, I had the luck to play against Tony Parker, who has an incredible playing level and quickness. I have also played against Sarunas Jasikevicius, who I also like a lot. As for the teams that will make the Final Four, it is safe to say there are no favorites at this stage of the Euroleague season. Of course, the four teams that earned the homecourt advantage start the playoff series tomorrow in a better situation because playing at home always helps you. It is a positive thing, but if you lose just once at home, you lose that advantage. I wouldn't be able to name a favorite, but I must say I really trust in my team. I am very proud of the season we had to far, and hope that we can make it to the Final Four."

Ricky, I've been watching your games for years and posting videos of you myself, and I'd like to ask: Do you ever look yourself up on YouTube?

Inna, Tel Aviv, Israel

"Yes, sometimes I do watch them. My friends, who like the Internet a lot, show me some videos made by fans. Truth to be told, I like them a lot, especially because they only show the good things, and I see really beautiful things! There is always a negative side to basketball, but it is never shown on those videos."

Ricky Rubio - Regal FC Barcelona Hola Ricky! Since the Olympic games my son and I are great fans of yours and your style of play. For us, you're the greatest point guard in Europe, with your spectacular passes and your incredible defense. We have heard and read so many things about you, but one short question we still have: Do you still go to school? Good luck!

Sabine - Berlin

"I started to study a marketing course this season, but to be honest I didn't find time to continue it as I would have wanted, so I put it aside a little bit. Still, I plan to get back to it when I find the time, especially at the beginning of next season. Once all our competitions get going and the Euroleague starts, it begins to get a bit complicated. I have decided to rejoin the course next year and finish it if I can."

Hello Mr. Rubio. How much time did you invest in basketball before you became a well known player? I am about your age, and I don't know how you could manage to succeed in school and find time to practice so much like you must have. Is it hard work that makes you such a good player, or talent? Thank you. Sincerely,

David Fruedl - Austria

"Well, I invested a lot of time, since I started playing basketball at age 4. For 10 years, until I made my Spanish League debut at age 14, I was fighting to get where I wanted to... I didn't have any other clear goal than enjoying what I was doing. That was the most important thing, because if you play a sport at a very early age and you don't like it or are forced to play it, you end up hating it. You play in order to choose the sport you want, the one you like. If you work hard, you can reach really high. You need to have the luck to be there at the right moment and wait for it."