Getting recognition for charity has never been the point, Ricky Rubio said.
Asked after Friday’s practice about receiving the NBA’s Community Assist Award for November, the Jazz point guard instead thought to another moment. Recently he held an event in Park City where he met Special Olympians, and he thought back to how happy they were to see him.
“Their smiles was a gift from them to me,” he said. “We’re in a privileged spot where we can give back to the community. And especially seeing those kids smile, especially around that time of the year where the joy has gotta be, especially in the kids.”
Rubio was cited by the NBA as one of the leading faces of the league’s charitable efforts. Since his mother died in 2016 from lung cancer, he’s made raising awareness and funding cancer research one of his top priorities. He’s also made contributions toward the Special Olympics and helping Puerto Rico and Houston recover from hurricanes this year.
He recently donated $20,000 to 5 For the Fight, the Jazz’s non-profit partner for this season. The donation was matched by Layton Constrution, and his award means that NBA cares will also donate $10,000 to 5 For the Fight.
“With 5 For the Fight, we’re showing our generosity,” he said. “It means so much this organization is so into this cause. Since Day 1 I’ve been in touch with the people from 5 For the Fight. It’s amazing what they do, and I’m happy they’re here.”
Back to basics
The last time the Jazz had a full practice, Rudy Gobert was still healthy.
If that seems unbelievable, consider that the Jazz have had a packed, road-heavy schedule with just a few days of rest built in. Utah typically doesn’t practice after back-to-back games, and tries to often put the onus on physical recovery.
But Friday, the Jazz got back to practice — and back to their core principles.
“Little bit of a back-to-basics concepts,” coach Quin Snyder said. “Try to shore up some of the things we’re doing defensively, teach our habits, teach some carry-over.”
The Jazz have lost three straight games, all in different fashion. But Rodney Hood said there were lessons in each game, particularly on defense. New additions Rubio, Thabo Sefolosha and Ekpe Udoh are all trying to find their fit in how the Jazz play D. At times, Rubio said, it can be hard to keep from reverting to old habits.
A refresher course was welcomed.
“In the games, you kind of lose rhythm and some details,” Rubio said. “Practice is when you get them back.”
Neto still in recovery
The Jazz gave an update on why Raul Neto has missed nine games so far in his most recent struggles with injury. He’s remained in concussion protocol since a game earlier this month against the Milwaukee Bucks, in part because of another injury he suffered on the same play.
Jazz officials said Friday that Neto has a left knee bone bruise, which was also suffered in his collision with Bucks center Thon Maker. The third-year point guard has been unable to pass all the tests required to pass concussion protocol because of the knee injury. He has still traveled with the team, but is expected to be out Saturday against the Cleveland Cavaliers.