1-on-1: Ricky Rubio On All-Star Friday

Mark Remme
Wolves Editor/Writer

Email / Twitter

Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio spent Friday morning participating in a Rising Stars Challenge practice in front of a packed full of fans at the NBA Jam Session Center Court facility.

The practice, which features more interviews and contests than X’s and O’s, gave fans their first look at Rubio and his new teammates on Team Shaq, which will be led by Shaquille O’Neal. They’ll square off against Charles Barkley’s Team Chuck at 8 p.m. CT tonight on TNT.

One of the on-court activities was a shooting contest in which the contestant took shots from the baseline behind the backboard and tried to make as many as he could in one minute. Rubio stole the show, making 18 and setting a new mark in the Guinness World Record in the process. The previous record was 14 by Evan Turner, which was set earlier in the morning.

He said the shot was his go-to move while playing H.O.R.S.E. with his friends, so he was prepared. Team Shaq teammate Jeremy Lin made nine in his attempt.

“We had a lot of fun, and I have a world record,” Rubio said. “I’ve never had one before, and I’m excited to have one.”

Rubio garnered praise from several prominent NBA players on Friday during media availability, including two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Steve Nash. Nash, who has made a career out of flashy passing, said he enjoys Rubio’s creativity and feel for the game.

“He has a joy to his game that is refreshing, and if there are any similarities, it’s a big compliment to me,” Nash said.

Fellow Team Shaq teammates said they are excited to have the chance to play with Rubio. Knicks guard Landry Fields said he was impressed not only with Rubio’s passing when New York came to Target Center this month, but also his ability on the defensive end.

“Extremely good player,” Fields said. “Very underrated defender, actually. I know he’s been praised for that, but I think he’s a lot better than people are saying. Deceptive. I’m excited to go out there and play with him.”

Clippers forward Blake Griffin will be Rubio’s teammate on Team Shaq. Griffin, who regularly takes passes from All-Star point guard Chris Paul and turns them into powerful dunks, said he’s ready to see what the rookie Rubio can do.

“We’ll see what his passing is all about,” Griffin said. “This will be our first time on the court. We’ll see what happens.”

Rubio said he’s ready to see how the two will connect, too.

“He’s a great player,” Rubio said. “We’ll see how he can jam.”

For more news and notes on the team follow the Minnesota Timberwolves and Mark Remme on Twitter.