CLEVELAND — Ricky Rubio has only been a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers for a few months, but he's already earned some hardware. On Thursday, the 31-year-old point guard was named the recipient of the Offseason NBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by Kaiser Permanente.
According to a press release, Rubio earned the distinction "in recognition of his continued efforts to improve the lives of children and families, particularly those impacted by cancer, prior to the 2021-22 NBA season." This marks the fifth year that the league and its partner have handed out the award to a player for his charitable offseason efforts.
In particular, the Ricky Rubio Foundation has shown a commitment to providing resources and improving the hospital experience for cancer patients and their families in the point guard's native Spain and the United States. Last April, he launched “I Am Ready,” a virtual program aimed to ease the experiences of pediatric cancer patients undergoing radiation treatments. In September, in partnership with Funidació "laCaixa," he announced the construction of a new therapeutic rehabilitation area at Vall d’Hebron Hospital in Barcelona, which will increase the number of children and adolescents the hospital can serve by nearly 40 percent.
As a result of him winning the award, the NBA and Kaiser Permanente will donate $10,000 to the Ricky Rubio Foundation.
“I’m honored to receive the NBA Cares Offseason Community Assist award,” Rubio said. “There are a lot of NBA players making a difference in their communities and I’m fortunate to be chosen. Since I started playing basketball, I have always thought about how to leverage sports and community. I tossed around the idea of starting a foundation until the decision to act became more personal and clear: my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer in the summer of 2012 and in one of my last conversations with her, I promised that I would do everything in my power to help others.”
Originally selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first round of the 2009 NBA Draft, Rubio is now in his 11th season in the NBA. In 16 games (four starts) with the Cavs this season, he has averaged a career-high 15.3 points on .392 percent shooting (.380 from 3-point range) and 6.4 assists in 29.1 minutes per game.
Rubio will be presented with his award prior to tip-off of the Cavs' matchup with the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night.