Patrick Reusse: Ricky Rubio's return: Timberwolves order a second helping of Rickymania

By Patrick Reusse, Star Tribune (Minneapolis) on

Published in Basketball

MINNEAPOLIS — The Timberwolves were so excited to hire David Kahn to run their floundering hoops club in May 2009 that he was given the title as "president" of basketball operations.

A month later, Kahn had back-to-back early selections in the NBA draft. He took point guard Ricky Rubio from Spain at No. 5, followed by point guard Jonny Flynn from Syracuse at No. 6.

In classic second-guessing, there has been a degree of criticism aimed at Kahn for selecting Flynn and leaving another point guard, Steph Curry, to be taken at No. 7 by Golden State.

The problem with Rubio was that he was 18 when drafted, was under contract with a Spanish team and not available to play for the Timberwolves for two seasons. Conversely, the problem with Flynn was he was able to play for the Timberwolves for two seasons.

The small group of NBA junkies in the Twin Cities monitored Rubio's play whenever his international games were played. There were some concerns when his minutes were limited at times for Spain's national team.

We wrote that off to a coach's preference for his veteran players and waited anxiously for the day Ricky would come to stay. That occurred on June 20, 2011, and three days later, Flynn was included in a trade to the Houston Rockets.


The Wolves enthusiastically promoted Rubio's long-awaited arrival, and a portion of the airport wound up crowded with fans to greet him.

I was co-hosting a midday sports radio show with Phil Mackey on AM-1500 and we unanimously approved of this audio prank:

It would be revealed we had a reporter on site, and he was giving updates on Ricky's plane as it slowed on its approach, and then we played Herbert Morrison's grief-stricken radio description of the Hindenburg airship crash on May 6, 1937, in New Jersey.

Ricky already had enough Minnesota fans without ever showing his skills here that we received a well-balanced sample of complaints: Older folks who didn't think Hindenburg jokes were funny and younger ones who didn't know what in Hades was going on.


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