Wednesday, December 28th, 2011 at 12:20 pm  |  54 responses

The Marketing of Ricky Rubio to Go Into Overdrive?

Ricky Rubio’s NBA career is off to an encouraging (at times, dazzling) start, which bodes well for his bank account going forward. From the Pioneer Press: “The buzz (about Rubio) is definitely picking up,’ [Agent Jarinn Akana] understated after the game, a 104-100 loss to Oklahoma City. ‘Eventually, deals that we were looking at probably will start coming in.’ Already, Rubio’s impact is clear. ‘His jersey was the hottest seller we had tonight,’ Timberwolves director of retail Jim Bastyr said after the game. Rubio, who will make $3.48 million as a rookie, is worth marketing. He is flashy, charismatic, charming and humble. Akana isn’t as flashy as Rubio. He is business-smart, poised and practical. Playing in Spain, Rubio had endorsement deals with Gillette razors and McDonald’s restaurants. He doesn’t have those now that he’s in Minnesota. ‘See,’ Rubio said before Monday’s game, pointing to his jet-black beard. Interpretation: No more razor commercials. Akana accompanied Rubio to the Twin Cities in June to get a start on business. To date, it’s been a wait-and-see proposition. ‘We pretty much attacked the market, met with a bunch of different companies, so they are aware,’ Akana said. ‘It’s hard to sell someone that people haven’t seen or been around. The myth of Ricky is that he can play, he’s good. But until people finally see him and get around him, see what kind of guy he is … he’s a winner. This thing is just going to grow … It’s like anything else – the economy is down; people are more cautious about spending and putting their dollars into something they’re not sure about,’ he said. ‘Ricky’s proving he’s a good player, and he’ll be able to capitalize on the market.’ Rubio’s Nike shoe contract has expired, and the worldwide apparel company hasn’t renewed the deal yet. Rubio continues to wear Nike shoes, though. Nike has the right of first refusal with Rubio. If another shoe firm makes an offer, Nike can match it and retain him. ‘We haven’t pushed that,’ Akana said.”

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  • shutup

    Please give this Rubio ish a rest, I know everybody is looking at him like hes the second coming of magic or pistol pete, but he still has a long way to go, and I’m predicting he will get exploited on the defensive end, and his inability to score will soon become apparent to all.

  • LA Huey

    Why not? He’s a stinkin’ cutie.

  • shutup

    lmao, hey if your into that lost lil spanish boy with a shag haircut look, more power to you

  • dahon

    hes only 21. give him a break. its nice to see a player with his skills (PASS FIRST)in the NBA.

  • shutup

    give him a break? how bout give me a break, im sick of people overhyping him thats all, let him prove something before everyone starts praying to him like he’s jesus, there are plenty of pass first pgs out there, rondo, andre miller, jason kidd, steve nash, the one thing they have that I dont see in him is a well rounded game, either a combo of defense or shooting that goes along with the passing ability, and I know the list is filled with good to great pgs but i do not view his passing ability at the same level, it might be there but until he shows it in the nba, im not buying the hype

  • http://dgcoursereview.com Bro.D.

    Uh, dude might be the best passer in the L right NOW, plays adequate to smart D and can hit jumpers. Well worth the hype IMO.

  • shutup

    best passer? really? what league are you watching?

  • shutup

    6 assist on his nba resume and now hes the best passer in the L, thats exactly the hype I’m so frustrated with. and uhhmm dude he got 28 dropped on him so adequate D, fraid not.

  • http://dfkl.com Jukai

    shutup: the point is, he’s flashy. He’s exciting. Even if he isn’t quite effective as people say, he’s starter worthy and deserves 35+ minutes a game… and he’s already produced around 10 highlight reel worthy plays. And that’s on two regular season games and two preseason games.
    So, regardless of his actual impact on the court, his impact on the camera will always be great.
    What will always hurt him will be his ability to score and put his impact on the game. But I don’t know where this whole “defense” thing is coming from. He was the ACB Defensive Player of the G*d D*mn Year. I know that don’t translate directly to lockdown defender in the NBA, but he’s looked adequate his last few games. Yeah, he got taken off the dribble by Westbrook. Westbrook does that to everyone, including great defenders like Rondo. It’s not like Westbrook dropped 40, he hit his average while mostly dominating the other points.
    Relax and just enjoy the highlights.

  • http://www.nyill.wordpress.com Enigmatic

    He’ll at least get major endorsements in Minnesota, that’s for sure.
    One need only read the tweets of Minnesota writers and bloggers like Myles Brown and Zach Harper every time the Wolves play to see how enamored everyone there is with him.
    I thought Myles was being sarcastic about it at first, till I seen he was ready to practically fight dudes who said Rubio can’t shoot last night.
    He is a pretty dope passer, underrated defender and solid shooter though.

  • shutup

    Im all for flashy and exciting, as for the highlights its all about the hype, if sportscenter and the media keep showing the highlights its sorta self perpetuating at that point. Westbrook isnt gonna be the only pg to exploit him. I dont think he can handle 35+ min a game, the major problem I have is that better players are being overlooked, and I just dont see him deserving all the hype surrounding him, or him living up to it quite frankly.

  • marc

    I think Rubio is going to be good now but he’s going to be a great asset in the future for some contender when he’s older. He is only 21 so he has time to get better. As for the hype. I think it died down because i remember 2 years ago it was terrible.

  • http://www.boogiewilliams.com Boing Dynasty

    in thier first games of the season Rubio had 6 assists and 0 turnovers, Jose Calderon had 11 assists and 1 turnover, and nobody knows hes exists.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Calderon literally doesn’t play defense. We all know how good of a passer he is, Rubio is actually a good defender. He obviously has to learn how to defend an NBA guard, the Euroleague guards are not as aggressive getting too the cup, and there is more help. But he will be a solid defender in a matter of time. Passing wise he’s elite, not best passer in the league elite, but he comes in right after Paul, Nash, & Williams. He creates passing angles on the break better than anyone though.

  • shutup

    I was gonna write that Rubio isnt even the best spanish pg in the league but thought it would be lost on everybody, Calderon is head and shoulders above Rubio, thats why he started over him on the national team.

  • Connor

    @shutup- I agree with you, the hype is maybe a bit too much this early. But it has to be said that he does look like a very good player (obvs he needs work on his shooting and defense, but that will come, he’s only played 2 NBA games). Definitely not the best passer in the L @Bro.D right now, that’s crazy- look at Nash, Rondo and CP3, even Lebron, as better passers (as you an tell, I am a Lebron fan, Im not that bias though haha). But he is flashy, with some substance so far, so I expect good, if not great, things for him down the line. And he’s the sort of player who can become a franchise player just because of his image, so I can see where the hype will come from…right now though, a little early I think

  • T-Money

    i didn’t see 10 highlight passes, maybe 1 or 2. these bounce passes on the break are made in every quarter of every NBA game. let’s also chill on rubio the defender. westbrook and harden were not only beating him off the dribble the other day, they were doing so IN STRAIGHT LINES. they didn’t even bother with faking him, just first step and go. sorry juks, acb doesn’t mean anything to me. fran vasquez is dwight howard in the acb. quincy lewis is a legit go-to guy in the acb.

  • shutup

    I hope he becomes more of a complete player, pass first is great but you have to be a threat with the ball, to be great. Not saying he cant get there, i just dont see him there yet. Its just the way the hype is if you didnt pay attention you think hes an allstar already, hes not even in the top 5 rookie rankings, i just hope ROY doesnt become a popularity contest, were all this hype sways it from someone who rightfully deserves it. (fingers crossed for Kemba)

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    What’s with everyone and their lack of being able to see things for how they are. Here’s how it is: Rubio is a very good passer. Top ten in the L already. Defense wise he maybe a top 15 at the PG position. Offense(shooting/slashing) Not one of the top PG’s. He is a solid rook. He could be really good. Or could be mediocre. Lets watch about 20 more games and then make INFORMED judgments rather than HATE or LOVE him because you like how he plays or you don’t.

  • shutup

    @Lakeshow i can name 15+ better pgs on defense.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow


  • Startown

    shutup: I was at his first game, he is the best passer that I have ever seen, nobody can make the passes he makes, that being said, he is young and needs to work on scoring (basically he just needs to shoot more)in two games he is shooting over 50% and he never missed in practice… and he is actually pretty good on D…

    6 points, 6 assists, 5 boards and 3 steals in half the game, most GM’s would be very happy with a rookie point guard putting up those numbers.

    Triple double if he plays the whole game

  • Startown

    By the way he wasn’t guarding Westbrook??

  • http://Slamonline.com Mars

    Give him a chance. He’s a legit player, but he’s a rookie, so it may be a while. He can pass, that’s for sure. His shot will come, but the Wolves have plenty of shooters. Minnesota might be a sleeper this year. Watch out. H8rs…geez

  • http://www.acb.com A l a n

    I’ve seen Rubio playing for years and his strong is defense. He’s fast, always focus and aware of the ball and has long arms. Good stealer. And nice passer too. Maybe the style of the NBA will fit him better, and look better too.

  • t-sizzle

    better defensive pgs than rubio, off the top of my head based on preception and/or stats:

    jrue holiday, rajon rondo, eric bledsoe, kyle lowry, toney douglas, jason kidd, russell westbrook, derrick rose, deron williams, chris paul, rodrigue beaubois, chauncy billups, kirk hinrich, kemba walker, george hill/darren collison/mario chalmers

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Other than Walker, Beaubois, & Kidd your right on the money. Kidd can’t guard 1′s effectively anymore. He can guard 2′s and 3′s much better, actually he is above average out of position. But his own position, he’s pretty terrible. Walker can’t defend like Rubio, that’s crazy talk.. and Beaubois has never proven to be a good defender. He’s got all the tools, but he hasn’t actually earned any kind of praise on that end (other than playing the passing lanes, which is supposedly a little reckless with how aggressive he is)

  • tavoris

    let’s see how many of those passes get stolen once teams have an opportunity to scout him thoroughly.

    Let’s not forget that some (most)his teammates aren’t exactly known for their basketball IQ.

    He definitely has the vision tho. still sticking to my earlier comparison to Shaun Livingston as a rook for now.

  • Startown

    Tavoris: Shaun Livingston? Serious?

    I’m going to go to youtube to see the infamous livingston passes?

    Seriously guys, Rubio’s court awareness is off the charts, you will just have to watch and see I guess. Right now, the Wolves players are simply not ready for all of his passes, he puts the ball right on the money, definitely a true point guard!

  • t-sizzle

    @nbk you’re probably right on all three. was actually thinking of kidd defending 2′s and 3′s which still makes him a top defender. beaubois has all the tools, but he’s been injured for quite some time now, so i guess you can chalk that up as potential. now kemba walker, there i’m just assuming because defense is all heart and he’s got heart..

    for the record, i believe andre miller and stephen curry are actually good defensive point guards even though they get their ankles broken too often..

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Miller has regressed quite a bit, i mean he’s still decent but he used to be top 5 in the league. And Curry gets a bad wrap for being on a bad team. He’s a smart defender, not absolutely terrible. But he doesn’t really have the physical gifts to be a good defender. And he’s not on Rubio’s level, especially within a team defense.. (this obviously is all my opinion, just want to clarify so nobody trips out about me acting like a know-it-all. big babys)

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Of those you listed the only ones I know that are absolutely better than Rubio defensively are Jrue Holiday, RR, JKidd, Westbrook, CP3, George Hill, Darren Collison. The rest you named imo are all equal or inferior. So I guess I actually have him as a top 10 defender. I’m not hyping, and i’m not a huge fan of his although I do like his style and will continue to watch him. As I see it though he is for sure an upper echelon defender.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Kyle Lowry, Chris Paul, Rajon Rondo, Deron Williams, Jrue Holiday, George Hill, Kirk Hinrich are the best defensive PG’s in the NBA. (that’s a pretty widespread opinion too) Just for the record.

  • http://slamonline.com LakeShow

    Captain Kirk has lost a step. As has Deron Williams as of right now. They both can be top defensive players, but right now i’m not so sure they are much better than Rubio. Honestly need to watch a little more Kyle Lowry. He always impresses me, but I haven’t seen enough of him.

  • anen

    LET HIM BE! Seriously they’re all up on him because he is so darn cute and can charm the panties off your mother. And I can understand the guy’s jealously towards him. But Let him go through his nba debut in peace all this attention must really be messing with his state of mind.

  • honest1

    i don’t care where he’s from how he looks f_c_ all the hype show me you can play prove it

  • tavoris

    Startown – YES. Slam Mag profiled dude when he was a young’n in the L. When he came outta high school, he was considered the best PG prospect since Jason Kidd.

  • http://thetroyblog.com Teddy-the-Bear

    Kyle Lowry might actually be THE best defensive point guard in the NBA. Like, number 1. Although George Hill can guard 1′s and 2′s.

  • http://www.slamonline.com J

    Hate the hype, not the player. C’mon guys..
    I believe Rubio is a good player. With a potential to be great. But I’m not gonna go with saying He’s already one of the top passing/defensive PG’s in the league. 2 games? No way. But let’s not tear him down already two.. To some players even a full season isn’t enough for them to adjust or realize their game.. Let’s just watch..

  • http://Slamonline.com nbk

    Yeah he may be. He’s without a doubt the best on ball defender among points. Atleast from what I’ve seen

  • http://www.slamonline.com J

    I’ll take George Hill only because of the versatility to guard the 2.

  • http://www.slamonline.com Chubachuchi

    I think shutup has some prejudice against Euro players lol hating hard on a rook that only played a few games.

  • shutup

    I dont hate euro players, just hate the hype around this one, Chalmers is a better defender as well. exactly he’s only played a few games and everyone is praising him like hes the goat. it just annoys me every where highlights and the such, and did you read the title of the article,,, they said they are going to increase the marketing of him, thats what irks me. I’m all for sitting back and watching him develop, I’m just sick of all these people trying to push him into the upper echelon without him having to prove anything.

  • http://slamonline.com nbk

    Who pushed him into the upper echelon? Are you just upset about the title of the article? because if you are, maybe you should realize this is a publication, they have to get people to click their articles somehow.

  • Ldub20

    LOL all these comments about Rubio are amusing. Hes the best passer in the L! (after 2 games, really?) Idk how ppl can say such crazy things about a player after only seeing him in action for 2 games. I think he is way over hyped. I think that because he decided to sign overseas 1st, that kinda built it up as well. Everyone wanna talk about highlights…the problem with that is it only shows the things he did well that worked. (similar to an and 1 video)…..
    When I saw Espn, dude had the ball dribbling off his foot, off his teammates legs, through it straight to the defender, lost it while trying to drive in, missed open layups. He is a rook..yes! Does he have potential? yes! Is he is great and deserving of all the hype he is receiving so quickly? No! All the flash doesnt make him a great player. You can get an assist with a simple bounce pass with the “behind the back effect”! Flash fills seats…fundamentals wins games. (Lakers, Spurs, Celtics, Pistons, Heat, Mavs) Just to name a few of the last champions!

  • Ldub20


  • http://www.circonba.com David

    The fault is not theirs, but journalist who selt him like an MVP. I repeat, ITS NOT HIS FAULT

  • assi

    hey!! when will rubio be featured in SLAM? except for the last one though!

  • UltimaCarta

    Adidas needs to sign him to a shoe deal.

  • startown

    ldub20: Rubio Line—12 points, 12 assists and 6 rebounds playing half the game against the best team in the league, way over hyped (lol).

    Ask the guys on the court…check D Wades comment after the game on never seen a guard pass like that. You know better than he I guess?

  • Startown

    12-12-6 in 1/2 the game, he is a player

  • startown

    where is shutup?

  • http://slamonline.com A-nonymous

    Simple response for everyone, just-watch-him-play.
    Basically, consistency on both ends will be questioned especially on the defensive side, but hey nobody thought that this kid would be able to play at an NBA, so lets just let the his play do the talking.

  • http://slamonline.com A-nonymous

    NBA level*
    so let his play do the talking*