The song says “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” but Luka Dončić is proof that no gender can corner the market on having a good time.
The Mavericks’ superstar point guard smiled all the way through his All-Star Sunday, starting with the Taco Bell Skills Challenge.
Dončić didn’t win the event. In fact, he was quickly ushered out of the competition when Indiana’s Domantas Sabonis easily won the second-round matchup with Dončić. Sabonis went on to win the event.
But that didn’t dampen the enthusiasm or the charisma that Dončić displayed.
When he watched from almost the full length of the court away – yes, he was that far behind after having trouble with the chest pass part of the skills course – Dončić broke into a wide grin and gave Sabonis a hug as he exited to prepare for the All-Star Game.
“It’s how I’ve played since I was a kid,” Dončić said before the event. “I always want to have fun and that’s when I play my best. So I think it’s part of my game.
“The skills, it’s fun. I’m going to try to have fun and see what happens.”
The 6-7 point guard got a first-round bye in the competition. But when he couldn’t get his pass through the narrow opening and Sabonis did so on the first try, the match was basically over.
Didn’t keep him from smiling through it, though.
And not long after the Skills Challenge ended, Luka took to social media to add his explanation, saying that “I didn’t warm up” and that “the pressure got me,” with several laugh-out-loud emojis attached.
After the All-Star Game was over and he did a brief video conference with media members, Dončić explained the situation before the skills competition started.
“I didn’t have time to warm up,” he said. “When I went there, I thought we were going to warm up first. I didn’t know we were going to start right away. So I was really cold.”
When asked if he was perhaps done with the skills competition after this, he said: “I don’t know. We’ll see next (time).”
A vote for tradition: As a rising face of the NBA, Dončić opinion on many subjects is becoming more sought-after.
On Sunday, he was asked whether he would like to see a United States vs. The World format adopted for the All-Star Game. It’s the system that has been used in recent seasons in the Rising Stars Game.
“I don’t think so,” Dončić said. “I think it should be the best players in the league. I think it should go back to the West and the East. That’s what I like. That’s the format I think should happen again.”
In the last few years, the league has gone to a draft to divvy up teams with the players who got the most votes in the East and the West drafting their teams, without any obligation to take
Remembering Dirk: Dončić said that he still talks frequently to Dirk Nowitzki and he earned a lot more respect when he was asked about his relationship with the greatest player in Mavericks’ history.
“His legacy is unmatched, what he did for Dallas, for European basketball,” he said. “Just unmatched. He’s always going to be one of the best power forwards in the game that I ever saw. Just a great, great player.”
Talking logos and LeBron: As part of his Saturday virtual news conference, NBA commissioner Adam Silver got a chance to address the thoughts of LeBron James and others that having the All-Star Game this season was not the greatest idea the NBA has ever had.
Said Silver: “It would be incredibly hypocritical of me to say to LeBron that you should speak out on issues that are important to you, but not ones when you’re critical of the league.
“We’re all part of a community. I respect him and his point of view. At the same time, I appreciate his professionalism. If you had a chance to see him, as captain of his team, proceed with the draft, he did it in good humor. He took it very seriously. I respect his point of view, but it seems like issues that can be worked out in the family, so to speak.”
In addition, Silver said he has not sensed an overwhelming groundswell of support for changing the NBA logo, which is something Brooklyn’s Kyrie Irving has supported.
“Everything changes over time,” Silver said. “Nothing’s permanently fixed, but the logo is iconic. It doesn’t feel to me that this is the appropriate moment to be changing the log . . . That doesn’t mean, again, that we won’t turn back and look at it at some point. But it feels like the logo is appropriate right now.”
Briefly: Luka spent barely 24 hours in Atlanta for the festivities and that was by design. He, his girlfriend, his mother and a small crew of Mavericks’ support staff got to Atlanta Saturday night and were set to leave after Sunday’s game . . . Dončić also said he was surprised that at least one player, Atlanta’s Trae Young, didn’t make the All-Star Game. “I think he should have made it for sure,” Dončić said. “I don’t know how. But I think he should have made it.” . . . The Mavericks are set to resume practicing on Tuesday in advance of Wednesday’s return to action against San Antonio.