Mistaken identities happen from time to time in the NBA, especially when autograph seekers aren’t sure who they are asking to sign for them.
But they aren’t supposed to happen with the frequency that they have to Mavericks’ big man Maxi Kleber.
Apparently, he’s Luka Doncic’s doppelganger — at least to some people.
It seems that he’s been identified as Doncic numerous times and it got particularly bothersome on the recent road trip to New York, Cleveland and Detroit.
Shooting coach Peter Patton witnessed several groups of people calling out Luka’s name when they would catch a glimpse of Kleber, who is a few inches taller than the rookie Doncic but does have some similar facial characteristics.
Patton, limited to walking in the mall for some exercise in Cleveland because of the sub-zero temperatures, happened upon a “Creative T’s” shirt shop and had an idea.
He had a black T-shirt created that simply read: I am not.
And there was a large picture of Doncic emblazoned below the wording.
For some reason people always confuse me with luka. They get super excited and are ready for me to sign their stuff… of course by now i know better than that.
I say: I‘m not @luka7doncic though.
Result, they are disappointed and i‘m not signing anything
Thanks @PJPatton52 pic.twitter.com/VWOVnXsnRH
— Maxi Kleber (@MaxiKleber) February 1, 2019
“I actually didn’t expect it,” Kleber said Tuesday. “But Peter gave me the shirt. Every time I leave the hotel, people go: ‘Luka, Luka.’ At games I run out for my shooting time: ‘Luka, Luka.’ I’m like, I’m not Luka.”
And it doesn’t just happen at road games.
Apparently, casual fans locally have a tough time differentiating between the two Europeans.
“It happened at a home game when we won against Phoenix,” Kleber said. “The last few minutes we were up and we basically knew we were going to win. I jog down the sideline and a lady goes: ‘Great game, Luka.’ And I’m wearing my jersey with No. 42. So I keep jogging and I hear: ‘Good job, Luka.’ I turn around and I show her this jersey and say: I’m not Luka.
“How do you get that wrong?”
Kleber has learned to laugh it off. And he added that the rest of his teammates are not immune to getting called by the wrong name.
“It’s funny because some people have called Ryan (Broekhoff) Maxi,” he said. “Some people the other day called Dwight (Powell) Maxi. People, they got to watch more carefully.”