Luka Dončić did it again. Last night’s monster performance broke a 59-year-old record. Dončić posted a 34/20/12, thus overtaking Oscar Robertson as the youngest player ever to post 30+ points, 20+ rebounds and 10+ assists in a single game. Robertson did it at 23 years, 12 days; Luka was 21 years, 158 days old. Nothing new for a kid who’s been dominating since he was 15.
Amin Elhassan was on the Doug & Wolf podcast and shared a story that puts everything the young Slovenian superstar is doing into context. Elhassan shared he was talking to a player who was playing for Real Madrid and asked him about his experience there. The player said it’s great – you get to meet Cristiano Ronaldo, they hook you up with an Audi (team sponsor), and then the player mentioned something that blew Amin’s mind.
“’And by the way, the best player on the team isn’t even on the team.’ I said ‘What??‘ He said: ‘The best player on the team is this 15-year-old kid. He’s on the JV squad. Every once in awhile they call him up to varsity. He plays garbage time here and there and right now he’s better than everybody on the team. And all the players know it and all the coaches know it and the only person who doesn’t know it yet is the kid.‘Amin Elhassan, Doug & Wolf Podcast
And the kid was Luka Dončić.”
If you’re not familiar with international basketball, Real Madrid is one of the best clubs in Euroleague history, the second strongest basketball league in the world. Let me put it like this. For a time, David Stern considered expanding the NBA by adding a few international teams. Real Madrid was the first team on that list. Luka wasn’t the best player on an average team – he was dominating at 15 playing for a perennial title contender.
At this point, I want to apologize to Sacramento and Phoenix fans. I know a piece of your soul dies every time a new story like this comes out. Yes, it was that obvious that Luka is going to be special. When someone’s that great, you see it from an early age. Kobe had a similar experience with a kid called Leo Messi. Mamba was talking to Ronaldinho, the best player in the world at the time. Ronaldinho pulled Kobe to the side and told him there’s this kid who’s going to be the best player in the world.
“Ronaldinho told me ‘Kobe, I’m going to introduce you to the guy who’s going to be the best player of all time.‘ I said ‘You what? You are the best player…‘ But he said ‘No, no, no. This kid is going to be the best.‘ And that kid was Leo Messi who was only 17 years old.”Kobe Bryant
You either have 20 years of Dirk and 15-20 years of Luka in Dallas or the longest active playoff drought in Sacramento. Luck has something to do with it, but most of the time, the pain is self-inflicted.