The evolution of a Spanish basketball star turned NBA player, from the perspective of a fellow player:
“I was playing in Spain at the time, and was there as the nation slipped into inescapable Rubio-mania. In the grocery store people wanted to talk about him; in our locker room we laughed about the boy who turned the ACB, the second best league in the world, into his personal And1 mixtape. He was the next Pistol Pete, the next Magic. There wasn’t a comparison too far-fetched.
“I remember watching his team, DKV Joventut, on TV and mentioning to a friend that he played so calm and free, so relaxed under immense pressure. And it was striking, the way he played each game as if it was happening in the park before he had to race home to set the table for the family dinner. But it wasn’t just his highlights that fascinated me. He reminded me of the basketball I grew up watching. This was before APBRmetrics and Hollinger’s stats parsed every minutia of detail into digestible numbers, quantifying a lot but inevitably missing the raw, visceral effect of watching a player play. It was a time, in short, when it was easier to see the game purely subjectively, and as art. And it was impossible to see Rubio as anything but an artist.”