By Lefteris Moutis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Never before a teenager had dominated the EuroLeague basketball showcase in such a manner. He had all the pressure in the world and until the last two minutes of the final, when he was ejected from the game with five fouls, he was playing like a savvy veteran.
And while this was happening on the court, off the court his impact was even bigger. For the first time ever, the NBA has published in its official social media accounts highlights of a player who does not play – yet – in the NBA. But he is the future of the NBA and it will be a surprise if his name is not among the first two or three mentioned by Adam Silver in the upcoming draft.
NBA TV is already preparing a documentary about Doncic, being present in the Euroleague Final Four, to cover the event, Doncic’s games and to interview his mother, his teammates, even European journalists about him. It’s obvious that his teammates will miss him. They have said even before the start of the Final Four.
The respect that he enjoys, however, from his opponents is unique. Everybody admits that they have never seen a player of his age performing like this. Fenerbahce‘s captain Melih Mahmutoglu called him a “sweet boy” while the Turkish guard was complaining about Doncic “immunity” to foul calls. Even if this is true, then it’s just one more testament of the respect Doncic already commands even by the refs. After all who other 19-year-old had such a treatment in the past?
He was voted MVP not only because of his performance but also because everyone wanted to give a fairytale ending to his EuroLeague career. Still, his two games are making a perfect case for this award and he carried this momentum to the locker rooms during celebrations!
One by one, Real Madrid‘s players entered the locker rooms and when the door was shut, and cameras couldn’t get footage, they were bathed in champagne by their teammates. The captain, Felipe Reyes, the top scorer of the final, Fabien Causeur, and the boy-wonder, Luka Doncic, entered the locker rooms last, with Sergio Llull asking extra champaign for them.
The euphoria of the scene was entrancing…
Jeffery Taylor acted as the DJ, putting on the right music, Doncic wanted to sing and at the same time, he was checking his twitter.
The first Millenial European star has been crowned at Belgrade.
The next stop for him before the NBA is the Spanish Liga Endesa playoffs which are starting this weekend. While he said repeatedly at Belgrade, that he has not decided yet if he will play next season in the NBA, don’t expect him to stay in Europe.
Yes, he has a contract for next season with Real Madrid – with a very manageable buyout – and he loves the club. But he is made for more and he is ready for the next step, earlier than any other European import of the best league in the world.
Photo credit: Gettyimages