- Numbered list item
|No. 77 – Dallas Mavericks|
|Full name||Luka Dončić|
|Born||February 28, 1999|
|Listed height||6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)|
|Listed weight||230 lb lbs (104 kg)|
|Professional basketball career|
|Position||Point guard/Small Forward|
|NBA Draft||2019 / Round: 1 / Pick: 3th|
|Selected by the Atlanta Hawks (rights traded to Dallas Mavericks)|
|Early club||Union Olimpija|
|Euroleague Team||Real Madrid|
|Career highlights and awards|
Luka Dončić (born February 28, 1999) is a Slovenian professional basketball player for the Dallas Mavericks of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He also represents the Slovenian national team.
Born in Ljubljana, Dončić shone as a youth player for Union Olimpija before joining the youth academy of Real Madrid. He debuted for their senior team in 2015, at age 16, becoming the youngest in club history. Two years later, he led Madrid to the 2018 EuroLeague title, winning the EuroLeague MVP as well as the Final Four MVP. Dončić was also named the ACB Most Valuable Player and won back-to-back EuroLeague Rising Star and ACB Best Young Player awards. He was selected to the EuroLeague 2010–20 All-Decade Team.
In 2018, Dončić declared for the NBA draft, joining the Dallas Mavericks. He was selected unanimously to the NBA All-Rookie First Team and won Rookie of the Year for the 2018–19 season. In his sophomore season, he was selected to his first NBA All-Star game and named to the All-NBA First Team.
A Slovenian international, Dončić made his senior debut for Slovenia in 2016 at only 17 years of age; he would later be named to the All-Tournament Team after helping his country win its first EuroBasket title in 2017.
- 1 Early Life
- 2 Youth Career
- 3 Professional Career
Dončić was born in Ljubljana, Slovenia to Mirjam Poterbin, an owner of beauty salons, and Saša Dončić, a basketball coach and former player.
According to his family, Dončić first touched a basketball when he was seven months old and was frequently playing with a miniature hoop in his room by the age of one. He played various sports in his childhood, including football. At age 7, he would played organised basketball at his primary school against opponents who were much bigger and stronger than him. This forced Doncic to develop his basketball IQ, and find crafty ways to beat his opponents. He admired Greek basketball player Vassilis Spanoulis and American Basketball player Lebron James when he was young.
When Dončić was eight, his father started playing for his hometown club Union Olimpija, and Olimpija Basketball School coach Grega Brezovec invited Luka to practice with players of his age. However, Doncic was soon moved up to a higher age group, and would perform exceptionally well, even winning the MVP whilst representing his club at the under-14 Vasas Intesa Sanpaolo Cup in Budapest in September 2011.
When he was just 13 years old, Doncic would sign a 5 year deal with Real Madrid. In February 2013, Dončić led Real Madrid to a Minicopa Endesa win, averaging 24.5 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists, and 6 steals per game. In the tournament's final game, he contributed 25 points, 16 rebounds, and 5 steals to defeat FC Barcelona and win MVP honors. In the 2014-15 season, Dončić mainly played with Real Madrid's under-18 team and reserve team. With the reserve team, he averaged 13.5 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 3.1 assists, despite playing against players who were around 3 years older than him.
Real Madrid (2015–2018)
On April 30, 2015, Dončić made his professional debut for Real Madrid in the Liga ACB against Unicaja, making his only three-point attempt in under 2 minutes of playing time. At 16 years, two months, and two days of age, he became the youngest player to ever play for Real Madrid in the ACB and the third-youngest debutant in league history, behind only Ricky Rubio and Ángel Rebolo. He played five games in the 2014–15 ACB season, averaging 1.6 points and 1.2 rebounds in 4.8 minutes per game.
In the 2015–16 season, Dončić became a regular member of Real Madrid's senior team. He played against the Boston Celtics in an NBA preseason game on October 8, 2015, collecting 4 rebounds, 1 assist, and 1 block. On October 16, at age 16, he debuted in the EuroLeague, scoring 2 points in a loss to Khimki. In 12 EuroLeague games, he recorded 3.5 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 2 assists per game.
Dončić made his 2016–17 season debut on September 30, 2016, against Unicaja, recording 6 points and 4 assists in 19 minutes. He collected 3 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists in an NBA preseason win on October 3, 2016, over the Oklahoma City Thunder. On December 4, he posted a double-double of 23 points and 11 assists, both season-highs. After recording 16 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals in a 95–72 win over Brose Bamberg on December 22; he was named MVP of the Round in the EuroLeague, becoming the youngest player ever to do so. He earned the same honor on January 14, 2017, after posting 10 points, 11 rebounds, and 8 assists to help beat Maccabi Tel Aviv.
After scoring 13 points and grabbing 8 rebounds in the 2017 EuroLeague Playoffs against Darüşşafaka on April 26, he shared MVP of the Round accolades with two other players. Two days later, he won the award outright, posting 11 points, 5 rebounds, and 7 assists to lead Real Madrid to a EuroLeague Final Four berth. Through 42 ACB games in the season, Dončić averaged 7.5 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 3 assists, and through 35 EuroLeague contests, he averaged 7.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game.
Dončić assumed a more significant role for Real Madrid entering the 2017–18 season after the team's star player Sergio Llull suffered a torn ACL. On October 12, Dončić scored a career-high 27 points in his first EuroLeague game of the season to help defeat Anadolu Efes. He nearly recorded a triple-double against Valencia in his next game, with 16 points, 10 assists, and 7 rebounds. On October 24, Dončić was named EuroLeague MVP of the Round after erupting for 27 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, and 3 steals. He was named MVP of the Round again two days later, eclipsing his career-best with 28 points in an 87–66 win over Žalgiris Kaunas.At the end of October, he earned EuroLeague MVP of the Month honors, becoming the youngest player to win the award. On December 8, he set a career-high in scoring, with 33 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists against Olympiacos Piraeus. Dončić led Real Madrid to a 79–77 victory over defending EuroLeague champion Fenerbahçe Doğuş on December 28, contributing 20 points, 10 assists, and 8 rebounds.
Dončić finished with 16 points, 7 rebounds, and 2 assists on May 18, in a 92–83 win over CSKA Moscow in the EuroLeague semi-finals. On May 20, he guided Real Madrid to a EuroLeague finals victory over Fenerbahçe Doğuş. He was subsequently named EuroLeague Final Four MVP after scoring 15 points. Dončić won the EuroLeague MVP award, being its youngest winner, after averaging 16 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game over 33 EuroLeague games
On June 29, 2018, he parted ways with Real Madrid.
Dallas Mavericks (2018–present)
Rookie of the Year (2018–19)
On June 21, 2018, Dončić was selected with the third overall pick by the Atlanta Hawks in the 2018 NBA draft. He was then traded to the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for the draft rights to Trae Young and a protected future first-round pick in 2019. After the draft, Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle said, "At one point, we thought there might be a slight chance Dončić could fall to us, but a couple of days ago it was pretty clear that there was no way that was going to happen. He's just too good. We get a guy we think is franchise foundation piece." He signed his rookie contract with the Mavericks on July 9, 2018. Dončić did not play at the 2018 NBA Summer League due to his late buyout from Real Madrid. Before the 2018–19 season, ESPN considered him the favorite to win the NBA Rookie of the Year Award.
Dončić made his regular-season debut on October 17, 2018, recording 10 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists, in a 121–100 loss to the Phoenix Suns. On October 20, Dončić recorded 26 points and 6 rebounds in a 140–136 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. He became the youngest 20-point scorer in franchise history. On October 29, Dončić posted 31 points and 8 rebounds in a 113–108 loss to the San Antonio Spurs, for his first 30-point game in the NBA. He recorded his first NBA double-double on November 19, with 15 points and 10 rebounds in a 98–88 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. Dončić was named NBA Rookie of the Month in the Western Conference for November 2018. On December 8, Dončić scored 21 points in a 107–104 win over the Houston Rockets. After initial struggles, he produced a personal 11–0 run in the game's final minutes. On December 28, Dončić scored 34 points and became the youngest NBA player to make seven three-pointers in a game. He was named Western Conference Rookie of the Month for December 2018. On January 21, Dončić recorded his first NBA triple-double with 18 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists in a 116–106 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, which made him the third-youngest player in NBA history to accomplish the feat at 19 years and 327 days old, behind LaMelo Ball and Markelle Fultz. On January 27, Dončić scored a season-high 35 points and recorded his second NBA triple-double adding 12 rebounds and 10 assists in a 123–120 loss to the Toronto Raptors. He became the first teenager in NBA history with a 30-point triple-double and with multiple triple-doubles. Two days later, Dončić was named a confirmed participant for the World Team in the 2019 Rising Stars Challenge. Despite being second in fan voting, behind only LeBron James, and ranked 8th in the total voting score, Dončić wasn't selected for the Western Conference All-Stars in the 2019 NBA All-Star Game.
On February 6, Dončić recorded his third triple-double with 19 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists in a 99–93 win over the Charlotte Hornets, which made him the youngest player in NBA history to record three triple-doubles. He edges Hall of Famer Magic Johnson by 117 days. On February 25, Dončić recorded his fourth triple-double with 28 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists in a 121–112 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. Dončić has four of the five triple-doubles recorded by teenagers in NBA history. Dončić was named Western Conference Rookie of the Month for January 2019. His eight triple-doubles ranked fourth on the season behind Russell Westbrook (34), Nikola Jokić (12), and Ben Simmons (10), as well as tied with LeBron James. Dončić became just the fifth player in NBA history to average at least 20 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists in his rookie year, joining Oscar Robertson (1960–61), Michael Jordan (1984–85), LeBron James (2003–04), and Tyreke Evans (2009–10). In May, Dončić was selected unanimously to the All-Rookie First Team, and in June, he received the NBA Rookie of the Year Award. Dončić became the second European player, after Pau Gasol, who won the award and the sixth overall winner not born in the United States.
First All-Star and playoff appearance (2019–20)
Dončić made his first triple-double of the season on October 25, 2019, posting 25 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists to help the Mavericks defeat the New Orleans Pelicans, 123–116. In two consecutive games, on November 1–3, he not only recorded two triple-doubles but matched a career-high 15 assists in both games. On November 8, Dončić scored a career-high 38 points and recorded his twelfth NBA triple-double by adding 14 rebounds and 10 assists in a 106–102 loss to the New York Knicks. Ten days later, in a 117–110 win over the San Antonio Spurs, Dončić recorded a then career-high 42 points and his sixth season triple-double by adding 11 rebounds and 12 assists. He made NBA history in a 142–94 win over the Golden State Warriors on November 20 when he posted 35 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists. He became the youngest player to have 35-point triple-doubles in succession, breaking Oscar Robertson's record, and only the fourth player to record it since the 1983–84 season, joining Michael Jordan, James Harden, and Russell Westbrook. In November, Dončić was named the NBA Western Conference Player of the Week for Week 5 ( November 18–24), his first NBA Player of the Week award. On December 3, he won his first NBA Player of the Month award when he was named the NBA Western Conference Player of the Month for October and November. He became the youngest Western Conference Player of the Month winner since the league began issuing the award by conferences in the 2001–02 season. In December, he was also named Sports Illustrated 2019 Breakout of the Year. On December 8, 2019, Dončić surpassed the record for the most consecutive games with at least 20 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists since the ABA-NBA merger in 1976. Michael Jordan previously held the record with 18 straight games in 1989. Dončić made his tenth season triple-double on January 4, 2020, posting 39 points, 12 rebounds, and 10 assists in a 123–120 loss to the Charlotte Hornets.
During the 2019–20 season, Dončić was selected to his first NBA All-Star Game as a Western Conference starter. He became the youngest European player to start in an All-Star game. On March 4, Dončić recorded his 22nd career triple-double, passing Jason Kidd for the most in franchise history. He registered 30 points, 17 rebounds, and 10 assists in a 127–123 overtime victory over the New Orleans Pelicans. Dončić made his 15th season triple-double on July 31, posting 28 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 assists in a 153–149 overtime loss to the Houston Rockets. On August 4, Dončić recorded another triple-double with 34 points, 12 assists, and a career-high 20 rebounds in a 114–110 overtime win over the Sacramento Kings. With that, he became the youngest player to record 30+ points, 20+ rebounds, and 10 or more assists. On August 8, Dončić had a then career-high 19 assists, which tied LeBron James for an NBA season-high, 36 points, 14 rebounds, and 2 turnovers in a 136–132 win against the Milwaukee Bucks. The game marked his 17th triple-double of the season and clinched his spot as the youngest player to lead the NBA in triple-doubles. On August 15, he was selected to the NBA's All-Seeding Games First Team for his play in the eight seeding games, where he averaged 30.0 points, 10.1 rebounds, and 9.7 assists per game. Dončić finished as one of the three finalists for the NBA Most Improved Player Award. He finished third behind eventual winner Brandon Ingram and second place Bam Adebayo. On August 17, Dončić made his NBA Playoffs debut, where he scored 42 points (most ever in an NBA playoffs debut) in a 110–118 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. On August 23, he became the youngest player in NBA postseason history with a 40-point triple-double, scoring 43 points in a 135–133 overtime victory over the LA Clippers, while hitting the game-winning three-pointer. With that performance, he became just the second player in NBA history to record at least 43 points, 17 rebounds, and 13 assists in any game, joining Wilt Chamberlain as the other. On September 16, he was named to the All-NBA First Team. He became the first player since Tim Duncan in the 1998–99 season to be selected to an All-NBA First Team in a first or second season. He finished fourth overall in the season's final MVP results and became the second-youngest player ever to finish in the top five of MVP voting.
Second All-NBA First Team and playoff appearance (2020–21)
On February 6, 2021, Dončić matched his then career-high 42 points while putting up 11 assists and seven rebounds in a 134–132 win over the Golden State Warriors. On February 12, Dončić logged a career-high 46 points along with 12 assists, 8 rebounds, one block and one steal in a 143–130 win over the New Orleans Pelicans. On May 1, Dončić recorded 31 points, 12 rebounds, and a career-high 20 assists in a 125–124 victory over the Washington Wizards. With that performance, he became just the fourth player in NBA history to record a 30-point triple-double with at least 20 assists, joining Oscar Robertson, Magic Johnson, and Russell Westbrook. On May 7, he reached 5,000 points for his career. At the age of 22 years and 68 days old, Dončić became the fourth-youngest player to achieve the feat, trailing only LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and Carmelo Anthony. On May 22, he recorded 31 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists in a 113–103 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 1 of the 2021 NBA Playoffs, and became the first player in NBA history to have three triple-doubles in their first seven career postseason games. He also passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the youngest player in league history to record a playoff triple-double on the road. On May 28, he scored a then playoff career-high 44 points in a 118–108 loss in Game 3 of the Western Conference First Round against the Los Angeles Clippers. On June 6, in Dončić’s first career Game 7, he surpassed his playoff career-high with 46 points, along with 14 assists. However, the Mavericks fell short 126–111 and were eliminated in the First Round by the Clippers for the second consecutive season, despite opening the series with a 2-0 lead. On June 15, he was selected to his second consecutive All-NBA First Team.
On July 14, 2021, it was announced that Dončić would be the cover athlete for NBA 2K22, the 23rd installment in the NBA 2K video game series. On August 10, 2021, he signed a five-year $207 million rookie extension, the largest in NBA history.