- Luka Doncic came to the NBA as a 19-year-old wunderkind who dominated in Europe, and he hasn’t disappointed in his rookie year.
- Doncic has been a revelation on the court, delighting fans and teammates with his un-guardable step-back threes and penchant for clutch shots.
- Doncic has also become a fan-favorite for his goofy antics on and off the court.
- Doncic has drawn praise from some of the NBA’s biggest stars and figures to be a superstar in the league for a long time.
In a league full of promising young stars, few players shine as bright as Luka Doncic.
The 19-year-old Slovenian guard-forward came to the NBA as one of the top prospects in years and has not disappointed in his rookie year with the Dallas Mavericks.
Doncic went pro when he was a teenager, shining for Real Madrid in the Euroleague and playing for Slovenian national team. By the time he entered the NBA, he had won Euroleague MVP, Euroleague Final Four MVP, ACB MVP, Euroleague Rising Star, and Best Young Player. He also picked up a championship with Real Madrid and a Eurobasket title with Slovenia.
In half of a season in the NBA, Doncic has wowed the basketball world with his on-court flair, success in the clutch, and sparkling personality.
Here’s how Doncic became one of basketball’s biggest stars:
Luka Doncic’s rookie season has made him the frontrunner for Rookie of the Year. He’s averaging 20.8 points, 7 rebounds, and 5.5 assists per game for the Mavericks. He’s become the leader of the team on the floor and has wowed fans with his crafty moves and ability to come up big in the clutch.
Of course, if you followed Doncic’s rise to the NBA, this shouldn’t be surprising.
Luka Doncic was basically superior to every player from the time he stepped on a court. When he was just 8 years old, he dominated a kids league in Slovenia so throughly that coaches moved him up to the next age bracket after just 16 minutes.
- via YouTube/ACB/EuroLeague
Doncic was offered a multiyear contract by Real Madrid when he was just 13. He made the move from Slovenia to Spain by himself, without knowing any Spanish, to play with older players.
- via YouTube/ACB/EuroLeague
By age 17, Doncic was already dominating. He won EuroLeague Rising Star in 2016-17, then won MVP of the league the next year while helping Slovenia win a Eurobasket title.
By the end of the 2017-18 season, Doncic was considered one of the best prospects in the world and was the frontrunner to go first in the 2018 NBA Draft.
However, during the draft process, Doncic started to fall down draft boards. NBA teams became concerned with his position in the NBA and his athleticism.
- Luca Sgamellotti/EB/Getty Images
On draft night, the Atlanta Hawks and Dallas Mavericks made a trade, with the Mavs sending their fifth overall pick and 2019 first-round pick to the Hawks to move up to No. 3 to select Doncic.
- Mike Stobe/Getty Images
NBA fans clamoring to see Doncic had to wait a while longer, however, as the Mavericks allowed him to sit out Summer League to rest. Due to the Euroleague and international schedule, Doncic had played several months straight without a break.
- Ethan Miller/Getty
It didn’t take long for Doncic to impress the NBA world, however. After a quiet preseason, Doncic hit the ground running in the regular season, scoring 20 points or more in 10 of his first 20 games.
Furthermore, Doncic impressed viewers and opponents alike with his craft, from dexterous drives to the rim….
… to his flashy ball-handling…
lmao this move by Luka is just silly pic.twitter.com/rk4qOVExeW
— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) February 12, 2019
… to his patented step-back threes.
But nothing has stood out more than his ability to come through in the clutch. How about this incredible, game-tying three-pointer?
Or when Doncic scored 11 straight points in 3 minutes against the Rockets to help the Mavs get a December win.
Luka Doncic scores 11 straight points against the Rockets!
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) December 9, 2018
On Sunday, Doncic had one of the most impressive performances of his young career, scoring 13 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter to outscore the entire Blazers team. The highlights need to be seen to be believed.
But Doncic’s likability extends beyond his basketball prowess. His antics on the court have made him a subject of viral moments and gifs, whether it’s giving himself a high-five…
No love for Luka ???? pic.twitter.com/BRvtsQGtBk
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 13, 2018
… or seeing himself on the jumbotron…
Luka Doncic found himself on the jumbotron and it was delightful pic.twitter.com/d3IBRwR4Ih
— Dime (@DimeUPROXX) January 3, 2019
… or simply being happy for his teammates.
Luka Doncic’s happy dance in sloow motion!
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) December 11, 2018
How well-liked is Doncic? The website The Ringer wrote a tribute to him called “Halleluka.”
… and then performed it at a Mavericks game!
Doncic is both flashy and understated off the court. When he played on Real Madrid, he drove an electric blue Porsche Panamera with custom black rims that he called “the most beautiful car in the world.”
- via Pro Sports/YouTube
Otherwise, he lives a fairly simple existence. Mavs owner Mark Cuban said all Doncic does is eat, play basketball, and play “Fortnite.”
In fact, what was Doncic doing when he found out he won Rookie of the Month for November? Playing “Fortnite.”
Luka Doncic found out he won Rookie of the Month playing Fortnite
— Dime (@DimeUPROXX) December 5, 2018
Then again, when Doncic came to the NBA, he set the bar high when he said he wanted to date Jennifer Aniston.
Source: Bleacher Report
Doncic’s play has caught the eyes of players around the league. Doncic drew rave reviews from the Golden State Warriors — Steve Kerr and Draymond Green called him an All-Star, while Kevin Durant said he’s been playing “great.”
Damian Lillard called Doncic a “really, really, really good player.” James Harden simply said, “He can play.”
He’s been so good that he even made the cut on LeBron James’ list of players he would like to play with.
It’s clear that Doncic has a bright future and will only continue to delight NBA fans for years to come.
Now, take a look at how far the NBA’s All-Stars have come…