Luka Dončić is headed to the Olympics. And he used his dynamic set of skills to get there.
In Sunday’s Olympic qualifying finals in Kaunas, Lithuania, Dončić registered one of his patented triple-doubles as his 31 points, 11 rebounds and 13 assists led his home country of Slovenia to a 96-85 victory over Lithuania. The win enabled Slovenia to qualify for the Olympics in men’s basketball for the first time.
The Olympics, staged this year in Tokyo, start on July 23.
Not only did Dončić shine when all the chips were on the table on Sunday. But the Dallas Mavericks’ superstar point guard also wound up being named the Most Valuable Player of the Olympic qualifying tournament.
Dončić collected 23 points, nine rebounds and 13 assists in Slovenia’s 98-70 win over Venezuela in the semifinals round of the Olympic qualifying tournament on Saturday. His superb efforts helped Slovenia win its four games by 50, 35, 28 and 11 points.
With a population of just 2.1 million, Slovenia is the smallest nation to earn an Olympic berth in men’s basketball since Latvia and Estonia in 1936.
This season for the Mavs, Dončić finished sixth in the NBA in scoring (27.7 points), 21st in rebounding (8.0), fifth in assists (8.6) and had 11 triple-doubles. The third-year veteran also started in the All-Star game for the second straight season and was named first-team all-NBA for the second consecutive year.
Led by Dončić, Slovenia won the 2017 European Championship, but did not qualify for the 2019 FIBA World Cup. Thus, their only path to the Olympics was what occurred on Sunday.
And with Dončić delivering in the clutch, Slovenia can now revel in the excitement of reaching the Olympics in men’s basketball for the first time.