LOS ANGELES – Immediately after sunset on the Los Angeles Lakers 114-113 victory over Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday at the…
LOS ANGELES – Immediately after sunset on the Los Angeles Lakers 114-113 victory over Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday at the Staples Center, Luka Doncic went to Laker’s wardrobe.
Doncic, Mavericks 19-year-old rookie sensation from Slovenia, drafted No. 3 this past summer, patiently waited in the corridor not far from the locker room entrance for several minutes until a team official arrived with a signed shirt from LeBron James.
Doncic beamed a wide smile with Jamess matched jersey in his hand as he returned to the visitors’ dressing room after his 14-point, five-wheel drive performance.
“I always wanted his shirt” Doncic said afterwards, with James sitting in his closet. “There was something special for me.”
It was also their first match against each other. Doncic said they organized the exchange during the match. James wrote on the jersey, in part, “Strive for greatness.”
Given his first matchup with his idol James, Doncic said: “It’s very special. I was waiting for this game and it was very special for me.”
James finished with 29 points, six assists, five rebounds, three steals and beat the game-winning free throw by 2.1 seconds left. Doncic had 14 points, seven assist and five rebounds.
James said he is not surprised that Doncic has managed to enjoy the NBA at such a young age.
“I think European players develop faster than NBA guys, meaning American players,” said James. “I think he has been in a stage of development now for how many years? Since he is 15? So I do not think this is scary to him. I do not think this game is something he has not seen before.  “I think it’s the best with European basketball, pro basketball over there. They develop their players so early. “
ESPN’s Dave McMenamin contributed to this report.