Rubio caps whirlwind week by helping tornado victims

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BLOOMINGTON, Minn. --- When Ricky Rubio held his introductory news conference this week, he jokingly promised that he would keep his credit card in his pocket on his first trip to the Mall of America so his family didn't buy everything.

Ricky Rubio (top) watches as 3-year-old Taj McPherson holds his new bear. The Spaniard aided a family that was a victim of a tornado.   Associated Press
Associated Press
Ricky Rubio (top) watches as 3-year-old Taj McPherson holds his new bear. The Spaniard aided a family that was a victim of a tornado.

That didn't keep him from busting it out for a good cause Saturday. As a hectic first week in his new hometown drew to a close, Rubio participated in his first charitable endeavor for the Minnesota Timberwolves, going shopping at a Build-A-Bear store with a 3-year-old boy whose family lost almost everything when a tornado ripped through North Minneapolis.

"For these guys, whatever (they need)," Rubio said.

When the Spanish point guard showed up to meet the McPherson family, little Taj was wearing a Dwyane Wade jersey. Rubio and the little boy worked on the brand new bear.

It's been a whirlwind week for Rubio, who is scheduled to return to Spain for the summer on Monday. But he didn't hesitate to help when he heard the family's story.

"It's so fun," Rubio said. "I love the kids. He's amazing. I know sometimes, I don't know why, bad things happen. Everybody has to help to try to be unselfish and part of the (community)."

The McPhersons were staying with their grandfather when the tornado leveled his home, wiping out nearly all of their possessions. A local project called Urban Homeworks lined the family up with a new place to live, and Rubio and the Timberwolves got Taj the bear, and gave the family, including father Trevor and mother Shara, gift certificates for dinner and Target, and a gift card for the mall.

"Everything has been coming along pretty well, actually," Trevor McPherson said. "Sometimes you have to go through trials and tribulations to go along further in life. It's devastating. A lot of homes and a lot of people over in North Minneapolis is going through a lot. ... But today has been a blessing."

Rubio also got on the court for the first time with some of his new teammates, working out for about two hours Saturday morning with a group that included Kevin Love, No. 2 overall pick Derrick Williams, Wes Johnson and Martell Webster.

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