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Rubio helps tornado family

BLOOMINGTON (AP) -- 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 in sight.

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, of course, wearing a Dwyane Wade jersey. Hand-in-hand, Rubio and the little boy stuffed a brand new bear, then went to various stations in the store to pick out clothes and get him all stitched up.

The bear went in a box that Rubio autographed, and Taj, who was extremely shy at first, gave him a big high-five when the day was done.

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.