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Luka Doncic: Europe's ambassador to the NBA

The Slovenian player is the leader of the Dallas Mavericks, no one doubts that he is a 'superstar' despite his short time in the league.

Luka Doncic during a game with the Dallas.

The Slovenian player is an NBA figure. / Photo: twitter.com/luka7doncic

LatinamericanPost| Onofre Zambrano

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Leer en español: Luka Doncic: el embajador de Europa en la NBA

He has just turned 21, but he is already a European champion with his native Slovenia, a starter in a recognized franchise in the NBA like the Dallas Mavericks, voted for his first All-Star Game, compared to Dirk Nowitzki and even gave himself the luxury of overcoming a LeBron James' record. 

The truth is that Luka Doncic can even afford not to play full games to continue beating records and expand his history, quite early in the NBA.

He reached the best league in the world in the 2018-19 edition after consecrating himself as a European monarch in the Eurobasket Turkey 2017 edition with an amazing Slovenian team that beat Serbia, the favorite, 93-85 in the final, and after a brilliant run at Real Madrid from Spain.

 

How he destroyed Lebron's record

He did it this season against the Minnesota Timberwolves and in a game in which he could even rest the entire fourth period after reaching 20 points, seven assists and nine rebounds, very close to a triple-double.

Doncic is also the second-youngest player after the LA Lakers star to reach 2,500 points, 1,000 rebounds and 750 assists. Those numbers were established by James when he was 20 years old, with 110 days and only 118 games played in the NBA, while his European counterpart did the same in 20 years and 361 days.

Luka broke Lebron James' record against the Sacramento Kings by racking up his 17th game with 30 or more points and 10 or more rebounds in his career. That day, the Slovenian reached 33 points, 12 rebounds and 8 assists to improve his averages this season to 28 points, 9 rebounds and 8 assists.

The All-Star Game

The current Mavs star recently became the youngest European player to be in an NBA All-Star Game, at the time 20 years old, and also became the third starter in Dallas history in said event.

The forward was one of the most voted players in this edition of the “February Classic”. Before the All-Star he reached 28.9 points per game, 9.5 rebounds, and 8.7 assists, in addition to a respectable 46.5% on field goal attempts.

Also read: Do you know them? The best scorers in sports history

Superior to Dirk Nowitzki?

This is another point that is currently debated and that only time will resolve. Journalist Bill Simmons confesses that he is obsessed with watching the Slovenian's matches. In Spain and in European countries with a basketball tradition, it is customary to get up early to see what Luka did the night before.

The Doncic effect is so notorious that even the league's television broadcasts this year were modified so that the Mavs are on during #NBASaturdays and #NBASundays, which are European prime time, and are usually reserved for high-end teams like the Lakers or Rockets. 

Some analysts agree that Luka must be among the best five players in the championship, but others more daring, already place him ahead of the legendary German Dirk Nowitzki. "Everyone wishes they had a 20-year-old that plays like him," Jerry West said in a statement on the team's website.

“I have seen many special players. How many superstars are there in the league at any given time? Maybe five or six. There is a difference between an All Star and a superstar. A superstar is different and he is. Look at Dallas. A player has transformed them into a Playoff team. He will be the best player Dallas has ever had. I have great respect for Nowitzki, but Dirk is not him, " he added.

These statements were taken with humility and self-criticism by Doncic himself. “It's amazing to hear things like that from someone like Jerry West, but to become like Dirk Nowitzki I need to improve a lot. Surpassing Dirk is going to be very difficult. Only time will tell, but this boy is on his way to being one of the greats. 

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