Even though his Dallas Mavericks are out of the NBA playoffs, Luka Dončić has continued to amaze the basketball world with his performances. Not many people expected the young superstar to represent his home country Slovenia in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament, but Luka presented his commitment and showed up with style.
Slovenia has just beat the favorited Lithuanians in front of a packed gym in Kaunas, achieving their first-ever Olympic basketball appearance. Luka dominated through the whole tournament and delivered in the Final, notching a monster triple-double, with 31 points, 13 assists, and 11 rebounds. It was a master-class performance, as Lithuania led by Sabonis and Valanciunas had no answer for Luka, who was scoring from everywhere and dishing dimes left and right.
Yesterday, before the Luka and Slovenians even knew they were going to the Olympics, Dončić got asked the classic question for international NBA players. That is if he would prefer Olympic gold with his country or an NBA Championship. Luka’s answer was short but straightforward:
“I would say gold medal with Slovenia. You play for your country, and that’s something that really, really…, but I wouldn’t mind both.”Luka Doncic, via Eurohoops
The Slovenians always had a respectable basketball team. Still, with the arrival of Luka, they became a force, winning the European championship in 2017 and now qualifying for the Olympics for the first time ever as an independent country. Luka’s answer may seem like a surprise for fans from the States, but this is a common mentality for players from the Balkan region. Those players are proud to represent their country and playing to eventually achieve something great with the national team rather than with their club. Just look at Bojan Bogdanović, who was on a plane for Croatia the very next day after his Utah Jazz got eliminated.
It seems like Luka is looking to take over the whole basketball world, as he will be one of the rare NBA superstars playing in the Olympics. Almost all the most prominent names from the USA team have opted not to play, along with the likes of Nikola Jokić for Serbia and Ben Simmons for Australia. It’s great to see such a young star have so much motivation, energy, and will to fight for his country despite all the minutes he played this season. Luka is living proof there is still some old-school romanticism left in this game.
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