Ricky Rubio and J.J. Barea draw a media horde in Mexico City

  • Article by: JERRY ZGODA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 4, 2013 - 6:22 AM

Spanish-speaking players are one reason the team is there.

 

– The Timberwolves’ Spanish-speaking backcourt duo of Ricky Rubio and J.J. Barea drew a crowd after Tuesday’s practice, so much so that Wolves coach Rick Adelman worried out loud that Barea might not be seen.

It could been have a simple observation about the large number of Mexican media members who came to the new Mexico City Arena to see up close what the NBA really is all about and interview players from both the Wolves and San Antonio Spurs in advance of Wednesday’s Global Games 2013 meeting.

Or maybe it was the coach’s dry commentary on Barea’s modest stature.

“Short joke,” Barea said, “for sure.”

Rubio and Barea were Tuesday’s most popular Wolves, even more so than All-Star forward Kevin Love.

“Kevin gets enough attention,” Barea said with a grin.

They were so because they speak the local language and together are a big reason why the NBA pursued the Wolves to play the Spurs in the first NBA’s regular-season game here since Houston played Dallas in 1997. It will be the 21st NBA game played in Mexico; the other 19 were in the preseason.

In all, 17 international players — 10 for the Spurs, seven for the Wolves — will be on the teams’ rosters Wednesday, the most ever in an NBA regular-season game.

Rubio and Barea each was surrounded by television cameras and recorders after the Wolves worked out for nearly two hours Tuesday. About a half dozen players from each team participated in a clinic with local Special Olympics and a Trique Indian tribe youth team from Mexico’s Oaxaca region that plays barefooted and won an international tournament this fall.

“This is my side,” Barea said. “We’re Latinos here, and they treat me really nice every time I come here. It’s different over here. It’s a good time. I enjoy it. I enjoy it a lot.”

A game to play

Adelman has grumped more than once in recent days about sacrificing a Target Center home game to play in Mexico City, where the Wolves are deemed the “home” team after the NBA struck a deal to pay the team appropriately for one game’s lost gate receipts if they’d travel 1,800 miles south at the end of a three-game trip to spread the NBA gospel.

He wasn’t biting on the topic again Tuesday, the Wolves’ second day in a city whose metropolitan-area population approaches 30 million people.

“I’m tired of talking about that,” he said. “We’re here. We’ve got a game to play.”

A local reporter asked Adelman about the Mexico City experience.

“Well it’s a nice arena,” Adelman said about a 22,000-seat building that opened in 2012 and is expected to be sold out by Wednesday’s opening tip. “They’re going to see a good game.

“The Spurs are very good, and we’re trying to get there. I think it’s going to be a good experience for everybody. They’re one of best teams in the league. They’ve been that way for years. They were in the finals last year and really, probably should have won it. They’re going to be there [in contention] again.”

  • related content

  • Gameday preview: Wolves vs. San Antonio in Mexico City

    Tuesday December 3, 2013

    wolves gameday8:30 P.M. VS. SAN ANTONIO at MEXICO CITY • FSN, 830-AMPreview: The Spurs have won 13 of 15 games...

  • Chart: A list of foreign players in Wednesday's Wolves-Spurs game

    Tuesday December 3, 2013

    Foreign flavorA NBA record 17 international players are on the rosters for Wednesday’s game between the Wolves and Spurs in...

  • Chart: NBA goes global

    Tuesday December 3, 2013

    Going globalThe number of international players on NBA rosters has increased steadily, to an all-time record of 92 this year....

  • J.J. Barea was surrounded by Mexico City media Tuesday.

  • Timberwolves Nikola Pekovic, left, and A.J. Price — in a sombrero bought for him by his teammates — appeared to be enjoying themselves after Tuesday’s practice.

  • Wolves 8:30 p.m. tonight vs. San Antonio • at Mexico City • TV: FSN

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

NY Yankees - LP: M. Pineda 0 FINAL
Toronto - WP: D. Hutchison 2
Detroit - LP: M. Scherzer 3 FINAL
Chicago WSox - WP: C. Sale 6
Chicago Cubs - WP: F. Doubront 5 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: J. Masterson 1
Cincinnati 1 Top 7th Inning
Pittsburgh 3
Minnesota - K. Gibson 6:05 PM
Baltimore - C. Tillman
Philadelphia - J. Williams 6:10 PM
NY Mets - B. Colon
Miami - J. Cosart 6:10 PM
Atlanta - A. Harang
Boston - A. Webster 6:10 PM
Tampa Bay - J. Odorizzi
Cleveland - T. Bauer 6:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Shields
Detroit - K. Ryan 6:10 PM
Chicago WSox - C. Bassitt
Texas - R. Ross Jr. 6:10 PM
Houston - S. Feldman
Colorado - T. Matzek 7:10 PM
Arizona - V. Nuno
Chicago Cubs - T. Wada 7:15 PM
St. Louis - M. Gonzales
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke 7:40 PM
San Diego - I. Kennedy
Milwaukee - M. Fiers 8:05 PM
San Francisco - J. Peavy
Oakland - J. Samardzija 8:05 PM
LA Angels - C. Rasmus
Washington - S. Strasburg 8:10 PM
Seattle - R. Elias
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
BYU 35 FINAL
Connecticut 10
(6) Jacksonville St 7 FINAL
(8) Michigan State 45
Bowling Green 31 FINAL
Western Ky 59
TX-San Antonio 27 FINAL
Houston 7
Colorado State 31 FINAL
Colorado 17
UNLV 13 FINAL
Arizona 58
Penn State 26 FINAL
UCF 24
Troy 10 FINAL
UAB 48
(7) UCLA 28 FINAL
Virginia 20
Western Mich 34 FINAL
Purdue 43
(5) Ohio State 34 FINAL
Navy 17
Appalachian St 14 FINAL
Michigan 52
Ga Southern 23 FINAL
NC State 24
Boston College 30 4th Qtr 4:15
Massachusetts 7
West Virginia 17 3rd Qtr 11:25
(2) Alabama 20
Rice 10 3rd Qtr 5:01
(17) Notre Dame 28
(10) South Dakota St 18 3rd Qtr 4:58
(24) Missouri 28
Fla Atlantic 7 3rd Qtr 10:55
(22) Nebraska 31
California 31 3rd Qtr 4:55
Northwestern 7
Marshall 28 3rd Qtr 10:58
Miami-Ohio 10
UC Davis 0 3rd Qtr 15:00
(11) Stanford 38
Arkansas 21 3rd Qtr
(6) Auburn 21
(16) Clemson 7 1st Qtr 9:04
(12) Georgia 0
Liberty 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(8) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(22) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(14) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(16) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(1) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
(25) Washington
(15) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(11) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(18) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(8) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(19) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(6) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(9) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(17) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(13) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(21) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(5) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(7) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Colorado 0 2nd Half 5:00
Seattle 1
New England 2 1st Half 5:00
Toronto FC 0
Columbus 6:30 PM
Montreal
FC Dallas 7:30 PM
Chicago
Real Salt Lake 9:30 PM
San Jose
Portland 9:30 PM
Vancouver FC
Ottawa 10 FINAL
Montreal 20
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Chicago 6:00 PM
Indiana
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How many games will the Timberwolves win this season?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close