HomeNBARubio might return to play for Spain in qualifiers

Rubio might return to play for Spain in qualifiers


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Ricky Rubio was named to Spain’s national team by coach Sergio Scariolo for FIBA EuroBasket 2025 qualifiers against Latvia and Belgium, set for Feb. 22 and 25.

Rubio signed a short-term contract with Barcelona last week, one month after he announced that his 12-year NBA career was over.

He has yet to play a game for Barcelona, though, meaning his first game back could potentially be with Spain.

The 33-year-old point guard, who had stepped away from playing to address mental health issues, agreed to a deal through the rest of this season.

Rubio first announced he was stepping away from basketball while he was with the Spanish team in the summer of 2023 in the lead-up to the FIBA World Cup.

His return opens the door for potential participation this summer at the Paris Olympics. Spain has yet to qualify for the Games but has the chance to do it July 2-7 via the 2024 FIBA Men’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Valencia. Its first-round matchups are against Lebanon and Angola.

Rubio was drafted in the first round by the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2009 but stayed in Spain and played two seasons at Barcelona before switching to the NBA.

This year, he linked up with Barcelona for a week of training before deciding to sign the new contract, the Catalan team said.

“This agreement depends on the player’s progress as he finds himself in the final stages of his recovery,” the team said.

Rubio has been on the international basketball stage since he was a teenager, first catching the eye of scouts and fans as a 14-year-old hoops prodigy. He won an Olympic silver medal in 2008, got Olympic bronze in 2012 and was named FIBA World Cup MVP in 2019.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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