Cleveland Cavaliers guard Ricky Rubio announced over the summer that he would be stepping away from basketball to focus on his mental health.
On Thursday, he announced his retirement after 12 seasons in the NBA.
Rubio, who also had a prolific international career representing his native Spain, penned an open letter to fans on social media to share his decision, adding that he is still “working” on his mental health.
“I wanted to post this message for you today because my NBA career has come to an end,” the letter, posted to X, read.
“It all started [in] June 2009, draft night in New York. What a dream. After playing 12 years in the league, with all its ups and downs, I have collected lots of good memories and great relationships. Minnesota, Utah, Phoenix and Cleveland. Wow. Thank you!”
Rubio, who won a gold medal with Spain in the 2019 World Cup, stepped away from the sport citing mental health concerns in August.
“I have decided to stop my professional activity to take care of my mental health,” he said in a statement at the time. “I want to thank all the support I have received from the FEB (Spanish Basketball Federation) to understand my decision. Today #LaFamilia makes more sense than ever. Thank you.”
At the time, Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman released a statement in support of Rubio’s decision.
“We understand how difficult of a decision this was for him and will balance providing whatever support we can while simultaneously respecting Ricky’s request for privacy.”
Rubio’s letter on Thursday did not mention any specifics, but he clarified that he is still working on his mental health after his “mind went to a dark place.”
“One day, when the time is right, I would love to share my full experience with you all so I can help support others going through similar situations. Until then, I would like to keep it private out of respect for my family and myself, as I’m still working on my mental health. But I’m proud to say I’m doing much better and getting better everyday.”
Rubio was drafted in the first round by the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2009 and spent seven seasons with the team before going to Utah. He missed the majority of the past two seasons while recovering from a torn left ACL, and he returned to the Cavs primarily as a reserve for 33 games at the end of last season.
“Special mention to Cleveland. My last home. I know the way things ended have been tough. I could never have imagined the year would develop this way, but you have an amazing organization, with Koby and JB, who have been extremely respectful and understanding of my situation and caring for me as a person. Thank you all for the love and support!”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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