Star guard Luka Doncic and his Dallas Mavericks are set to take on the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of the Westen Conference Finals in San Francisco Wednesday evening.
For Doncic, his rise to stardom in the United States can’t come as too much of a surprise. We’re talking about a dude who won the EuroLeague MVP as a teenager for Real Madrid back in 2018. That’s only the second-most talented league in the world. No big deal, right?
Years before Luka Doncic became the toast of Europe, he was scaring opposing kids at a mere 12-year-old from Slovenia.
Check out this recently discovered footage of Doncic absolutely dominating his competition during the Under-13 Lido di Roma Tournament. Some of the things you’re going to see in this video defy logic. The highlights seem to spit in the face of Einstein’s theory of relativity while simulatinously leading us to wonder whether Doncic is actually of this galaxy. Perhaps, he’s the first contact from Proxima Centauri.
Three-pointers. No-look passes. Ridiculous lay-ups. The breaking of ankles. Anyone who watched these highlights back in 2012 and decided to take Marvin Bagley over Doncic in the 2018 NBA Draft should be tar-and-feathered. Alright, that might be a bit harsh. Our apologies, Vlade Divac.
Luka Doncic talks about 12-year-old self
“It was a beautiful experience! I had great fun playing in front of the huge public who came to cheer us on and followed us in all the games. We had even a greate opportunity to visit the beautiful and unique city of Rome. We also visited Ostia Antica archeological site. We therefore got to have fun and some culture too.”Luka Doncic in experience during Lido di Roma Tournament
Doncic’s ascension up the ranks to Europe’s elite actually began back in 1999 when his Olimpia Lubiana team won the same tournament in a younger age group. He was named MVP of the tournament.
“We were a very close and united team, who had already won many matches in Slovenia and various European tournaments and the Lido di Roma Tournament was one of them.”Luka Doncic on basketball experience as a child
Fast forward several years, and the 23-year-old Doncic is one of the faces of the NBA. He’s put up an historical start to his career and is seen as a perennial MVP contender.
Luka Doncic’s next challenge is a formerly dynastic Warriors team
Dallas took out the Phoenix Suns in the Western Conference Semifinals to set the stage for this huge matchup against the Warriors.
Doncic will be going up against three members of the Warriors who have each earned three NBA titles. Golden State’s head coach, Steve Kerr, has eight NBA titles to his name (five as a player, three as a coach).
Dallas finds itself underdogs against a team that’s making its sixth Western Conference Finals appearance over the past eight seasons — the same team that won each of its five conference finals. For his part, Doncic is doing this after an absolutely brilliant performance against a Suns team that finished the regular season with the NBA’s best record.
- Luka Doncic stats (conference semifinals): 32.6 PPG, 9.9 RPG, 7.0 APG, 48% shooting
If Doncic is able to lead his Mavericks past Golden State for their first NBA Finals appearance since 2011, he’ll be a superhero in Big D. Who would have imagined that watching the video we embedded above? After all, he was dominating 12 years olds when another European legend in Dirk Nowitzki was doing his thing in Dallas.
Talk about coming full circle.