“Diagnosed With Cancer”: Ex-Wolves Star Held Out Hope With Father’s Words as Dark Clouds Loomed in 2015

Published 01/07/2024, 10:26 AM EST

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USA Today via Reuters

Ricky Rubio has played professionally since the age of 14. Although he followed his passion and made it to the NBA, he was faced with the harsh realities of life very soon. One year after making his way to the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Rubio family received devastating news. Rubio’s mother, Tona Vives, was diagnosed with cancer.

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But with the support of her family, she held strong and beat the disease. So, in 2015, when it returned, Ricky Rubio and his family held onto the words of his father to get through the tough times again. She’d beat it again, they all believed.

This wasn’t a new situation for us — three years earlier, my mom had been diagnosed with cancer. It started in her lungs in 2012. We stayed positive. I knew she could do it. I had to believe. That’s my mama, you know? She’s my superhero. I’d seen her raise a family. I’d seen her work hard and then find time to take her son to soccer and basketball practice after. And she beat the cancer. As my father would say, We all beat it. As a family,” said Ricky Rubio in The Players Tribune.

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via Reuters

But sadly, Tona Vives passed away in May 2016. This was extremely hard on Rubio, who since then started questioning his purpose and if it was worth continuing his journey in basketball at the time.

Struggling with mental health, Rubio had been absent from the Cleveland Cavaliers for months before announcing his retirement. Having gone through struggles beyond his control, Rubio decided to give up millions to get himself to a better place.

Ricky Rubio gave up millions to leave the NBA

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The former No. 5 overall pick was part of the Cleveland Cavaliers. As he announced his retirement from the NBA with 2 years left on his contract, Rubio and the team decided to pursue a contract buyout. The Spanish star gave up 5.2 million dollars to focus on his mental health and decided to prioritize himself above his NBA career.

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With many players in the NBA having expressed similar concerns about struggles in their personal lives, Rubio became one of the first to take a decision and focus on himself by taking himself out of all the distractions of the NBA.

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What do you think of Ricky Rubio’s retirement from the NBA? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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Written by:

Rijin Varghese

687Articles

One take at a time

I did not follow the traditional route to become a journalist, but my love for basketball and writing has brought me here. Seeing LeBron James? Cleveland Cavaliers make the iconic comeback from a 1-3 deficit in 2016 changed everything for a young engineering aspirant within me. Rather than simply looking at the game, I love to analyze how each player contributes to a team using BPM (Box Plus Minus) and other advanced metrics.
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Edited by:

Caroline Joseph

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