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How old is Mavericks's Luka Dončić, the youngest player in NBA Playoffs to call a historic triple-double?

Dončić joined the likes of Oscar Robertson and Charles Barkley as the only players in NBA history to have at least 40 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists in a playoff game
Luka Dončić (Getty Images)
Luka Dončić (Getty Images)

The August 23 game between Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Clippers was a super entertaining one. In their first-round playoff series, Luka Dončić led the Mavericks to a 135-133 overtime win in. He finished the game with 43 points, 17 rebounds and 13 assists, to tie the series at 2-2.

According to USA Today, Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said that the 21-year-old’s performance will "go down in history in some form as one of the great games a second-year player has ever played". Carlisle even compared the young player to former Hall-of-Fame point guard he coached (Jason Kidd) and a former Hall-of-Fame forward he played with (Larry Bird). Dončić joined the likes of Oscar Robertson and Charles Barkley as the only players in NBA history to have at least 40 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists in a playoff game, according to the report.

The basketball player was born in Ljubljana, Slovenia, to Mirjam Poterbin and Saša Dončić, a basketball coach and former basketball player. According to an ESPN report, Dončić is the godson of former NBA player Rasho Nesterovic. Dončić reportedly has had a basketball in his hands since he was seven months old. His first organized basketball stint was at his primary school team at Mirana Jarca when he was around seven years old. The ESPN story states that the athlete had accompanied his father after the latter left Slovenian club Domzale for Union Olimpija in 2007.

Olimpija Basketball School coach, Grega Brezovec, was a friend of his parents and invited the young lad to practice with the 1999-born generation. Then an 8-year-old Dončić impressed everyone with his dominant basketball skills during his first Olimpija practice. He was then moved up to the 1996-born group only 16 minutes into the training session, according to ESPN. After practicing with the older kids, he was promoted to the Olimpija selection team, and over the next few years, he competed with players almost three or four years senior to him.

Due to league rules, Dončić wasn't allowed to compete at the under-14 level, but he shone through his own age group and played a role off the bench on the under-12 team as well. Dončić would beg his parents to go practice with the older teams on his off days. The story quotes Lojze Sisko, the director of Union Olimpija's youth program and Dončić’s under-12 coach for his final season before leaving for Spain as saying, "The most unbelievable thing for me was how he can change his personality. He was always confident on the court. Always had a desire to win. Very focused on the court but when the match finished he was an amazing little boy. He was always smiling, joking with the kids. He had a magnetic personality at that age."

Real Madrid youth sports director Alberto Angulo invited the player to compete with the prestigious club in the Minicopa tournament, a junior version of the well-known Spanish competition, Copa Del Rey. There also he made an impression by scoring 20 points in the final versus rival Barcelona, according to ESPN. The story states that in April of 2012, the 13-year-old Dončić scored 54 points (39 in the first half), 11 rebounds and 10 assists in the championship game of the under-13 Lido di Roma tournament, where he won MVP honors. His performance earned him a deal with Real Madrid, which didn't have many foreigners of his age in the youth program, apart from 1998-born Brazilian center Felipe Dos Anjos, according to the report. The youngster used this opportunity quite well and 2013 Minicopa won MVP.

He spent some of his 2016 summer in Santa Barbara with P3 Sports Science, a data-driven performance company that works with the NBA's top athletes. He honed his skills there and returned to Madrid. The then 17-year-old was the only player in the Euroleague last season to average at least 15 points, eight rebounds and eight assists per 40 minutes. But he had struggled in the Euroleague final four. According to the story, in an Istanbul arena filled with NBA scouts and executives, the youngster scored 27 points on 14 shots in the quarterfinals versus Kristaps Porzingis and Latvia.

The 18-year-old went for 11 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists to stage a win over Spain in the semifinals. But later he suffered a sprained ankle in the third quarter of the gold medal match, as stated in the report. According to Euro, in 2016-17 EuroLeague MVP Sergio Llull had suffered a knee injury and Dončić took his place and impressed with his playing skills. He led Real to the 2017-18 EuroLeague title, earning Rising Star, EuroLeague MVP and Final Four MVP honors that season. In March 2020, he was selected for the 2010–20 All-Decade Team.

In 2018, as per a ESPN report, the Mavericks acquired the draft rights to Dončić even though the Atlantic Hawks selected the European star. In return, the Hawks acquired the draft rights to Trae Young, who was selected by the Mavericks. At that time ESPN quotes the player as saying, "I've been talking to a lot of teams, but especially Dallas, they've been talking to me, they were so nice to me, and I'm glad you know... I'm just happy to be in the NBA. I'm just happy to be a part of that."

During the 2019–20 season, Dončić was selected for his first NBA All-Star Game as a Western Conference starter. On August 17 this year, Dončić made his NBA Playoffs debut and scored 42 points in a 110–118 loss to the Clippers. After Sunday's game, Twitter showered praises and were also surprised he achieved so much at just 21. One user said, "Luka is 21 and is already a top 10 player LMFAO. Ridiculous."


Another wrote: "At 21 I was busy strolling at parties while Luka is 21 embarrassing grown men w/ families.. imagine."


Another observed, "Y’all just peep what I’m saying.... Luka is 21 years old... the numbers he is putting up is actually unheard of. He’s not only doing it his 3rd year in the league, he’s doing it against a Tier 1 defensive team in the Clippers.. he’s only getting better... "


One joked, "Luka is 21 and hitting game winners in the playoffs. i’m 21 and dislocated my finger by putting on shoes."


One said, "Luka is 21 and just had a 40+ point triple double in the NBA finals... I coach 21 year olds that still struggle with the difference between There, Their, & They’re."


Another said, "Luka is 21, putting up historic numbers, and hitting game winning three pointers. i’m 20 and can barely win a game of mario tennis. there better be a massive athletic glow up in the next year or imma be upset."