Luka Doncic is a Slovenian Sensation who is in many ways following a path forged by those who came before him. Fellow Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki is of course one of those. But so is another "Slovenian Sensation'' who offers some "Balkan Blood'' advice to his younger friend.
"That’s the Balkan blood, we cannot eradicate that,'' Dragic said with a laugh in answering a question from Vecer about Luka's temper. "This just proves how badly he wants to win. Frustrations come, one has to work on that.''
Doncic himself has admitted the issue exists, and also uses his competitiveness as the reason. And overall, of course - outside of his Mavs' Friday loss to Dragic's Heat in Miami before 3,000 Slovenian fans - whatever he's doing is working. The 2019 Rookie of the Year is having an MVP-caliber campaign in leading the Mavs to a likely playoff berth in the NBA West.
But there is much to learn from Dragic, 33, who was nearly a Mav last summer via trade but now is a big part of the Miami success as the sixth man.
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"When I was a younger player, my tempers were also flying high,'' Dragic said. "Luka is smart. However, they will now attack him on defense. He has a very big responsibility on the offense, so they’ll get on him more, and try to wear him out so that more and more plays go through him on both sides of the court.
"This will be a good challenge for Dallas.''
The "challenges'' from the other teams? Luka's dealt with those just fine. The "challenges'' with referees’ calls? That's where the "Balkan Blood'' must eventually cool.