By Mike Max

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Minnesota Timberwolves guard J.J. Barea has had quite the season already, and we’re about a third of the way in.

He’s come off an NBA championship with the Dallas Mavericks, been hampered by a hamstring and then a sprained ankle. He now has Spanish phenom Ricky Rubio has his backcourt teammate, and he’s dating Miss Universe.

WCCO-TV’s Mike Max recently sat down with Barea to talk about a variety of topics.

Mike Max: What’s it been like in this shortened season for you?

“It’s been a little hard. With injuries I’ve been out for a while, but I’m happy to be back. I got the first game back out of the way last night, and I’m just trying to make us better,” Barea said.

MM: With a hamstring injury, it’s day-to-day and you never know do you?

“Yeah it was my first hamstring injury and they’re pretty tough. You think you’re right, but you’re not so the second time around I took my time and I really got it better,” Barea said.

MM: You and Ricky Rubio speak the same language. Tell us about your relationship?

“It’s great, he’s a great teammate and a great person to be around. He works hard and we can talk Spanish to each other without anybody knowing. If we have to say somebody is crazy or something, we’ll do it in Spanish,” Barea said.

MM: You’re one of those guys who people look at and they say ‘He’s too short, he couldn’t play and he’s and playing out there.’ How does that happen?

“Well it’s just been a long road. I’ve been playing the game since I was like 4 years old, and I get better every year. You’ve got to work hard, you have to be patient, you have to be a little bit lucky and you have to be aggressive and confident in what you can do. It’s been working for me all my life,” Barea said.

MM: You’ve got to be tough to don’t you?

“Oh you have to be really tough, especially in this league. You have to be mentally tough, physical and you have to play hurt sometimes. You’re going to get hit, but you have to bounce back,” Barea said.

MM: How about everybody that wants to know your girlfriend is Miss Universe?

“Oh she’s doing awesome. We’re expecting a little boy here soon, we’ve got a couple weeks and she’s been doing awesome. She’s here in Minnesota. She’s from Puerto Rico so we were in the same place, we were both single at the same time and I sent her a text and we kept it moving,” Barea said.

MM: We’ve all got dreams but you play in the NBA and your girlfriend is Miss Universe. That’s pretty good.

“Oh it’s pretty good, I’m enjoying it. I’m enjoying my life every day, it’s just a dream come true,” Barea said.


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