Doncic no longer wants to miss a game in the NBA Finals

BOSTON-. Luka Doncic He didn't stay up all night to watch the games. NBA Finals when I was a child. They usually started around 3 a.m. in his native Slovenia. He had to go to school a few hours later and when he woke up, he found out who he had won.

But make no mistake: Doncic was paying attention.

“Every kid who plays basketball dreams of this,†Doncic said. “I was one of them.†.

Dreams will come true for Doncic on Thursday night, when the 25-year-old makes his NBA Finals debut with the Dallas Mavericks when they face the Boston Celtics in the first game of this year's title series.

He could become the first player to win a scoring title and a championship in the same season since Shaquille O'Neal in 2000, bolstering the case that Doncic, who leads the departments this postseason in points, rebounds and assists , may be the best player of the moment.

“This is going to be the international final,†said Kyrie Irving, Doncic's teammate in Dallas. “Everyone is going to be watching. All finals are international, but the world will be watching this one.â€

The NBA Finals have long been available in more than 200 countries and territories, broadcast in approximately 50 different languages ​​and dialects.

And it's nothing new for foreign players to be stars on the NBA's biggest stage. Two of the last three NBA Finals MVPs were Greek Giannis Antetokounmpo for Milwaukee in 2021 and Serbian Nikola Jokic for Denver last year.

“Incredible. First time here. Let's hope it's not the last,' Doncic said Wednesday at NBA Finals media day in Boston. “But never take it for granted. You never know if you're going to come back, so enjoy the experience.â€

Doncic, who became a father for the first time this season, calling fatherhood “the best thing in the world,” is a global brand in his own right, a player who speaks four languages ​​fluently and has a huge following worldwide. everywhere. And a championship would only quickly increase his place as a legend.

“Luka is at a spectacular, stratospheric level,†Hall of Famer Pau Gasol said at an event in Spain this week. “What she has done… is within the reach of very few in the history of this sport.â€

The numbers back up what Gasol says.

Doncic is averaging 28.7 points per game in his six regular seasons; only Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain, both at 30.1, have a higher career average. He is the only player in NBA history to average at least eight assists and eight rebounds per game. He is one of two players with at least 10,000 points, 3,000 rebounds and 3,000 assists in the first 400 games of his career; Oscar Robertson is the other.

“The game for him is too simple, too easy,†Mavericks coach Jason Kidd said at the end of the regular season, when asked why voters have not yet rewarded Doncic with an MVP award. “He makes it look too easy. Unfortunately, that's what happens with some of the greats… We take their talent for granted.†.