Then, last year, his knee and ankle were fine, but his heart was hurting. Rubio played the season while his mom, Tona, was battling lung cancer. In an interview with the Associated Press in Rio, Rubio said there were times when he wondered why he was even playing. Rubio was able to get back to Spain and spend time with his mom before she passed May 25. While that sadness lingers, basketball has been there to help him heal. He considered not playing for Spain in the Olympics, but did, and it helped. “I love playing basketball, but the most important thing to me is my family,” Rubio said. “I was going through tough times; there are a lot of things that make you think. It was a tough summer. But the national team helped me. Basketball always helps. And I’m excited about this upcoming season, being able to focus on the basketball part and not think about anything else than brining my best to help this team to win.”