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Slovenians, understandably, are obsessed with Luka Dončić; the prodigious wunderkind breaking basketball records every turn of his career, the international ambassador of their unfamiliar country, the Ljubljana-born native who frequently showcases his national pride.

Lately, Slovenia’s Dončić mania has reached new heights. Luka Štucin, a broadcaster for one of the country’s prominent television stations, realized this when the emails started coming in. He could tell something about the people writing him from their names and how questions were asked — but also, amusingly, from the email domains.

“It was all Hotmail,” Štucin said. “It was old people writing to me.”

Slovenia is seven hours ahead of Dallas, which means scheduled evening games here begin in the middle of the night there. Still, Štucin said, these emails asked him questions about how to watch the NBA: How can I get your cable channel? What if I only have an antenna?

“We all know that grandmas fall asleep at six in the evening,” Štucin said. “That grandmas are staying up to watch Luka, that’s something special.”

Iztok Franko started writing Mavericks analysis for Dallas-based D Magazine this season. He resides in Ljubljana, the nation’s capital city, but visited Dallas for the first time earlier this year — and his group chats have swelled with talk about Dončić and the Mavericks’ playoff run. When Dallas lost its first two games against the Phoenix Suns last series, he became something of a therapist for worried fans, who asked him to explain why Dončić and his team were struggling.

“For some (during the season), there is so much Luka news, so many Luka highlights, they’re like, ‘Oh, it’s just one more thing,’” he said. “(But in the playoffs), they know the context, they know this is big.”

When the Mavericks play afternoon games, which start during the prime evening hours overseas, Štucin said the broadcast receives higher ratings than any other North American sport — and even European soccer leagues. Still, what’s happening right now has engaged this small country beyond anything he’s seen.

Štucin is asked about Dončić everywhere he goes, especially when people find out or recognize him as a sports broadcaster.

“You meet someone for the first time, and they ask you what you think about Luka,” he said. “You meet someone you haven’t seen in 10 years, and they ask you about Luka. Bartenders, they ask you about Luka. At the mall buying shoes, they ask you about Luka.”

When he started his basketball podcast, called “Dvokorak,” he and his cohosts Tilen Lamut and Matija Kosmač wanted to avoid talking exclusively about Dončić. Lately, even they can’t avoid it.

“With Luka, it’s the whole country talking about him for a very, very long period now,” said Damir Rađenović, the marketing director of the Basketball Federation of Slovenia. “It’s been going on for five, six, seven years. To be that talented, that good in basketball, and to be that kind of a person that the whole country talks about you constantly for so many years, I think that shows how special Luka is in every way.”

When he was younger, Franko would stay up for games in the early morning hours. These days, he prefers waking up at 7 a.m. to quietly rewatch them, several hours after they’ve finished.

“(It’s) a process on the NBA app,” he said, laughing. “You have to hide the scores, but you need to not look at the whole screen just in case.”

Franko’s basketball writing has made him less temperamental when watching sports, but even his routine was ineffective the morning after the Mavericks’ Game 7 against the Phoenix Suns. He found himself awake at 5:30 a.m. and, realizing he wouldn’t be able to fall back asleep, started watching the game then.

Yet for every Franko, and for every Slovenian who is content with only watching highlights in the morning, there are many more like Jure Drakslar, who couldn’t resist waking up in the middle of the night to witness Dončić attempt to make his first conference finals. Even though he’s currently hundreds of miles from his birth country, working as a strength and conditioning coach for the Russian club UNICS Kazan, Drakslar has become equally obsessed with Dončić’s postseason run.

For him, it’s even more personal than sharing nationality with Dončić. Two summers ago, before the NBA restarted in the Orlando bubble, Drakslar worked with Dončić while he waited for games to resume. What struck him then was Dončić’s ever-present joy, a persistent feeling that permeated throughout nearly every training session.

“He’s just in love with basketball,” Drakslar said. “Initially for me, it was a big surprise.”

When Dončić roared to his 27-point first half against the Suns, grinning after every shot, Drakslar couldn’t help but smile. “Especially when you know him a little bit,” he said, “you cannot do something different.” He texted with Luka Rupnik, a Slovenian national team player and close friend of Dončić’s, who at one point messaged him, “This is so funny.” It was a feeling that all of Slovenia had.

In previous postseasons, Slovenians have been captivated by Dončić’s carefree water-bottle flips. This past series, it’s how Dončić reacted to being provoked that they latched onto. “It seemed like they got him mad, and that’s what Luka thrives on,” Štucin said. “Once Devin Booker said, ‘The Luka special,’ it was over.”

Franko’s group chats echoed that same message. They pissed him off, the feeling has been — they asked for this. There’s such confidence in Dončić that Franko’s friends couldn’t be convinced Dončić wouldn’t drop 40.

“What impressed me was how effortless it was,” Štucin said. “He was shaking his head, like, ‘You can’t guard me, you can’t guard me.’ We were impressed, and it’s really hard for him to impress us.”

Dončić already might be this country’s greatest athlete, which isn’t something to take for granted. Slovenia’s athletic achievements far outperform its population of 2 million: Their athletes have won Tour de France races, Stanley Cups, Olympic gold medals, Serie A titles and more within just the past decade. It’s hard to understand how this country rallies around their success stories without visiting.

But Dončić’s trajectory is something different. None of their athletes have been so quickly this good, this talented, this beloved. Never before have even the grandmas woken up in the middle of the night to watch him. It was Štucin who told me, matter-of-factly, that Dončić was already the country’s best. “I think it’s not even close, man,” he said. It’s unquestioned Dončić is on pace to lapse everyone else.

Dončić and the Mavericks lost the first game of the conference finals, an uninspired 112-87 defeat to the Golden State Warriors, but there will still be Slovenians awake at 3 a.m. to watch Game 2. And those who followed him closest never doubted these moments would come.

“I don’t know what to tell you, except we warned you,” Rađenović said amusedly. “We told you what’s going to happen when Luka was drafted. And I guess only a small number of people believed us here in Europe. But we just had to wait.”

Saj ne rečem, na šihtu zadnja dva tedna večina športnih debat o Lukcu.

Imam NBA gear, valda Boston. če za njih navijam, ampak potem folk vedno misli (ko poveže Boston z NBA in tega z Lukecom), da avtomatsko drkam na Lukca in da gledam vsako tekmo.

Pizda, a je tok težko nenavijat za Dallas?

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Galko reče pred 2 urama:

Evo isto sem jaz pomislil. Zakaj za kurca jim ni izrisal par akcij za 2 piki ffs??? Sej vemo da ima ekipa rahle probleme s tapkanjem žoge hehe, ma da je tako hudo? :D

Ne razumem sploh. Konstantno se topi prednost, ajde nekaj je blo open lookov, ki ni šlo not, jebat ga... Nasprotnik gaina momentum, občinstvo čedalje bolj napaljeno, v napadu si povsem brez ideje, v obrambi nobenega ne uspeš ustavit in coach ne naredi absolutno nič, da bi situacijo probal ustavit. Ni bilo timeoutov, ni niti menjal postavo nekaj časa, absolutno nič.


Upam samo, da jih ne bo tale poraz oz. in the bag tekma popolnoma izpraznil emocionalno in da se bodo znali pobrati, ker serije se včasih odločajo tudi na takih stvareh.


Pa še tole... Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me five fucking times in a row, shame on Maxi fucking Kleber. Vem, da so krivi tut soigralci da Maxi potem ostane v blazno nehvaležni situaciji, ampak cmon... Ne uspe ustaviti čisto nič.

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Drgač, modeL je odgovorni urednik na Arena šport tv. Verjetno nekaj vpogleda v zakulisje ima. To z 'babicami' pa vzemi malo z rezervo. Temu se sarkastično reče, da so danes praktično vsi znalci za NBA, ker Luka Dončić...:rolleyes:

uredilo bitje Gogy
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Jimmy Buttle = inflamation dobi sploh ne pride nazaj igrt. Kr z lufta


Smart, se tm zvija na tleh pa joka, mislš da je za 1 leto out - prteče nazaj čez par minut na igrišče dela Eurostepe in ne vem kaj

Tatum obsedi. Aw aw rama -> 2 minuti kasneje igra veselo dalje.

uredilo bitje BlueSan
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kakšno je mnenje javnosti okrog uporabnika "Kyle Lowry"? A je popularen ali ga folk hejta? Tip je mali in debel, vsak favel odigra ko da je na sprejemcih za AGRFT, ksiht ima ko veverica / hrček, meni je šel res na kurac :D 

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BlueSan reče pred 3 urami:

Jimmy Buttle = inflamation dobi sploh ne pride nazaj igrt. Kr z lufta


Smart, se tm zvija na tleh pa joka, mislš da je za 1 leto out - prteče nazaj čez par minut na igrišče dela Eurostepe in ne vem kaj

Tatum obsedi. Aw aw rama -> 2 minuti kasneje igra veselo dalje.


Paul Pierce sindrom Bostona


Odpelajo te z invalidskim vozekom, čez par minut vstaneš kot feniks.

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Tale tekma je bila kr neki. Lepo pokazala, da je Miami jebena ekipa, ki ravno tako lahko pusti srce na parketu. Tatum pa pokazal, zakaj ne more bit vodja Bostona. Ok, ti ne gre šut, ni panike. Ampak, da zajebeš 5, 6 žog z nekimi čudnimi podajami..:unsure:


Čim prej pozabit tole čudo in zdej dobit dve zapored, prosim.

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Mah evo, spet 3. cetrtina razpad sistema. Po 1. polcasu so bli na eni piki, zdej je ze plus 11 za Warriorse…


Dončić faking 2 asistenci v 3 četrtinah :S Kleber 0/4, Bullock 0/9...


Zdej se je še ena navijačica spotaklna, k je Donke tok grdo falil :D

uredilo bitje dilar
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Boba-Fett reče pred 3 minutami:

Mah, če bi mel Dončić take soigralce kot jih ima Štefan Dudocuzić, bi mel prstan že v žepu. Tko pa mora vedno ugibat kdo je sploh razpoložen, če sploh. 


Modeli so fuknil že 40 tric :D 


Eh, to je to od te serije.

uredilo bitje dilar
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To je to. Luka hvala vseeno za kar nekaj prekrasnih košarkarskih večerov,. :avadodo: Pripeljati ekipo med top 4 je vsekakor zavidanja vreden dosežek , a mislim da ga zanima sam prstan. Za kaj takega bo treba prenovit temeljito ekipo, ali pa Luki najti drugo. 

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Brunson je dost dobr, Luka je dost dober, samo jbg, Mavs nimajo pol ekvivalente Greenu, Poolu in Wigginsu, Curry pa Klay sta pa itak boljši duo kukr Brunson in Luka


Tole ni nobeno presenečenje. Je pa res da tud GSW niso takoj ratal the best team on the planet, tko da kdor upa na Mavs naslednja leta naj upa, da ne bodo nakupovali neumnosti in da porihtajo ekipo

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Mislim, da je Dallas presegel pričakovanja, glede na kader dobra sezona, težko bo pa kdaj kaj več od tega. Letos se je marsikaj poklopilo, da so šli daleč pa vseeno niti blizu naslova. Da vidimo kaj bo letos Dončić počel teh pol leta. Pravi šampion bi delal na tem, da se to salo spremeni v mišice vendar zelo dvomim v to, upam da preseneti. 

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Ma Dallas je 1 stožec oddaljen od tega, da naredi serijo bolj zanimivo. Maxi in Bullock to tekmo, fuck me. :sick:

Donke Spence Brunson so nekak dal svoje, ostalo pa polom. Me zanima, kaj bo Nico sčaral poleti, razpust ekipe, ki je prišla do CF valda ne bo, upam da mu uspe ta 2-3 ključna kosa pravilno zarotirat. 

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Eh ko bi bil vsaj samo scoring problem, meni se igra dost predvidljiva zdi pa tud v obrambi ni res nikogar, k bi prepričljivo boarde pobiral vsaj. To da ima Donke dostkrat največ boardov pri Mavsih samo zgleda, kot da more Donke vse sam

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