Luka Doncic (pronounced as Luka Donchitch) acquired different nicknames while he was with the NBA. People called him ‘The Matador,’ ‘El Matador,’ and ‘The Don’ among other nicknames. But where did Doncic come from?
Doncic comes from Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia. The city is between the Alps and the Karst mountains and has an elevation of 968 feet. Doncic’s hometown has a hot climate with temperatures reaching 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40 degrees Celsius).
How did Doncic become part of the NBA? How long did he stay in the league? Here, you’ll find the answers to these questions and more.
Luka Doncic’s hometown is Ljubljana, Slovenia. It’s a place many people find relaxing because of its Mediterranean feel.
Famed for its sights, sounds, and history, Ljubljana is a relatively young locale that combines classic and modern aesthetics into an elevated city. New generations can enjoy the technology while those enthused by vintage appeals will find no shortage of classical experiences in the city.
Slovenians, particularly those from Ljubljana, are quite versed in English aside from their native language. It’s also this reason why Doncic seems to have little to no problem conversing with American friends, colleagues, and league officials.
Luka Doncic Early Life
Doncic’s passion for basketball started at a young age. His father, Sasa Doncic, was a former basketball player and coach. According to an ESPN report, Doncic started holding a basketball at seven months old. His family often saw him shooting a tiny basketball to a miniature hoop in his room.
As he grew older, Doncic’s passion for sports also developed. He found himself trying various sports, including European soccer or football. But he quit this sport for being too tall for his age.
At age seven, Doncic took part in an organized basketball team at his primary school in his hometown. He went against older players, some of which were three years older than him. Some of the older kids even had more experience than Doncic at that time, leaving this young basketball player with a handicap.
However, this difficulty didn’t reduce his passion for the sport as it only strengthened. Doncic saw his older, wiser, and more experienced opponents as challenges he has to face and defeat instead of thinking about them as problems. Therefore, he had to use his wits instead of his physical attributes back then to beat the taller opponents.
Growing up, Doncic’s passion for basketball continued to burn. He found himself admiring some notable basketball players, including Greek athlete Vassilis “Billy” Spanoulis and NBA superstar LeBron James.
Luka Doncic Basketball Career
Like many other basketball players, Doncic’s basketball career started at a young age. He started playing in Europe before moving to the USA to play in the NBA.
Playing for the Union Olimpija
At eight years old, Doncic’s father started playing for Ljubljana’s basketball club, the Union Olimpija. This men’s professional basketball club invited the young Doncic to a practice session. Doncic would soon find himself training with other kids his age. But coach Grega Brezovec moved Doncic to a higher age group at only 16 minutes into the practice session.
The coach saw Doncic’s skills to be fairly advanced for his age. He even saw the young Doncic’s ability to play with the 14-year-old club members. However, the club’s rules only allow the young rising basketball star to only play with the under-12 selection team.
Despite this rule, Doncic would still train with older club members during unofficial practices. He trained even when the coach told him to stay home.
In September 2011, Doncic represented Olimpijia for the under-14 division in Budapest during the Vasas Intesa Sanpaolo Cup. He even acquired the MVP award even though his team only finished as a runner-up.
In April 2012, Doncic entered another tournament. This time he was part of the under-13 division of the Lido di Roma Tournament. Still representing the Union Olimpija club, Doncic would once again receive the title of MVP.
Playing for the Real Madrid
At age 13, Doncic moved to Madrid after signing a five-year contract with Real Madrid. Also called the Real Madrid Baloncesto, this Spanish professional basketball team is a division of the Real Madrid CF multi-sports club.
After less than a year living in Madrid, Doncic led his team to win the Minicopa Endesa. Again, Doncic procured yet another MVP award, thanks to his contributions to the team. He would soon find himself winning another MVP award, this time after defeating the Crvena Zvezda Belgrade, a men’s professional basketball club in Belgrade, Serbia, and defending champions at that time.
Doncic debuted as a professional basketball player three years after his move to Madrid. He still played for the Real Madrid club during this period. Furthermore, it seemed that his basketball skills flourished over time as he was able to score a three-point shot in under two minutes of playing during the Liga ACB.
Playing in the EuroLeague
In October 2016, Doncic took part in a match between Real Madrid and the Oklahoma City Thunder. The American basketball team took notice of the Slovenian’s skills as Doncic garnered some impressive feats during that game.
Doncic continued playing for and with the Real Madrid team as the club entered the 2017 to 2018 season. His opportunity surfaced when Sergio Llull, the team’s star player, suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury in EuroBasket 2017. Doncic’s debut in October 2017 earned him four assists, six rebounds, and eight points, which helped greatly in letting his team snatch victory from the MoraBanc Andorra team.
Doncic’s strides in his professional basketball career continued after the match with MoraBanc Andorra. Almost two weeks after that game, Doncic scored 27 points in his first EuroLeague game. It was also the Slovenian’s best shooting performance for his career. These 27 points also helped in allowing the Real Madrid team to beat the Anadolu Efes.
In 2018, Doncic was one of the EuroLeague’s Final Four MVPs after gaining an average of 16 points throughout the season. He was also the EuroLeague’s youngest MVP. However, it also signified Doncic’s final moments with Real Madrid as he set his sights on the NBA.
Doncic in the NBA
Now in America, Doncic his NBA career by being the Atlanta Hawks’ 3rd overall pick in the 2018 NBA draft. But he wasn’t able to play for that team as Doncic was traded to the Dallas Mavericks for Trae Young.
According to an article from USA TODAY, the Dallas Mavericks coach had the following statement to say about Doncic arriving at his team:
In July of the same year, Doncic signed a rookie contract with the Mavericks. But he can’t play with the team at the 2018 NBA Summer League because of the rules that bind him from the late buyout from Real Madrid.
Doncic debuted as a regular NBA player in October 2018, and it was impressive, to say the least. In his first game, he was able to score 10 points while providing eight rebounds and four assists to his NBA team. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to beat the Phoenix Suns as the Mavericks lost by 21 points.
At the time of writing, Doncic is still with the Dallas Mavericks. Furthermore, he continues to make amazing strides in his professional basketball career. For instance, he was able to gain his highest number of points in February 2021 by scoring 42 points in one game. Those points helped the Mavericks win against the Golden State Warriors.
Luka Doncic is an NBA player from Ljubljana, Slovania. He has come a long way in his professional basketball career since he started admiring the sport back in his hometown. After going through a challenging yet highly rewarding athletic journey, Doncic is now part of the NBA as he plays for the Dallas Mavericks.