Luka Doncic – 20 Under 40

23 | Dallas Mavericks

Since joining the Dallas Mavericks after the 2018 NBA draft, the Slovenian-born Dončić has made an impact in his new home that goes far beyond the historic numbers he put up in the court through his first four NBA seasons.

Dončić began playing basketball at the age of 8, signed a five-year contract with Real Madrid when he was only 13, and made his professional debut at 16, becoming the youngest person to play for Real Madrid.

With the Mavericks, he earned Rookie of the Year honors in 2018-19 and became the youngest European-born player to start an All-Star Game when suited up for Team LeBron at All-Star 2020 in Chicago. Dončić has earned back-to-back All-NBA First Team honors, becoming the youngest player in league history to accomplish the feat.

His dedication to his new home of Dallas and his hometown of Ljubljana run deep.

Dončić represented Slovenia in the country’s historic first appearance at the Summer Olympic Games. After leading his team to the semifinals in Tokyo, Dončić returned to Slovenia to refurbish two basketball courts that he played on growing up, as part of a partnership with the 2K Foundations.

Dončić recently launched the Luka Dončić Foundation with a focus on helping children in need in Dallas and Ljubljana.

“Growing my foundation, doing more to help those in need – that’s what really excites me,” Dončić said.

Last October, Dončić arranged for 80 patients at Children’s Health hospitals in Dallas and Plano to receive a pair of Jordan sneakers, a Jordan drawstring bag, a hoodie, socks, a letter from Dončić, and a signed photo. He also donated to help Texans during the February 2021 winter storm and provided Air Jordan 1 shoes and Mavericks swag to healthcare workers who administered vaccinations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For Christmas 2021, he devised a surprise for nearly 200 children at the Children’s Hospital of the University Medical Center Ljubljana, arranging the delivery of hundreds of toys and goodies.

What do you do in your free time?

To be honest, I’m on the road so much, I just enjoy relaxing at home. I have three dogs and enjoy playing with them and walking them in the neighborhood.

Favorite place for lunch?

I usually eat lunch at home after practice, but Nick & Sam’s and Mi Cocina are my favorite spots for dinner.

How do you motivate others?

I work really hard every day. I love the game of basketball and am passionate about it. I hope I motivate and lead by example.

What makes the Park Cities or Preston Hollow home?

I am so happy to be here in Dallas — it has everything! The people are kind and nice. The Mavs fans are the best. It means a lot to me to be here in Dallas. I just want to thank everyone for their support in making a kid from Slovenia feel so good and welcome.

You recently participated in a Make-a-Wish grant. What advice did you give?

I told them to do what they love. For me, it’s basketball. I have so much fun every time I have a ball in my hand or am on the court. I told the kids to find that thing they love, because it will make them the most happy!

Share this article...
Email this to someone
Share on Facebook
Tweet about this on Twitter
Share on LinkedIn

Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, former deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.