Dallas Mavs Rally Behind Luka Doncic in MVP Campaign with 'Pravi MVP' Shirts

The Mavs sport "Pravi MVP" T-shirts in support of Luka Doncic's overlooked MVP candidacy, highlighting his standout NBA season.
Dallas Mavericks wearing 'Pravi MVP' shirts for Luka Doncic's MVP campaign
Dallas Mavericks wearing 'Pravi MVP' shirts for Luka Doncic's MVP campaign / Grant Afseth - DallasBasketball.com
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MIAMI — In response to the national media's lukewarm recognition of Luka Doncic as a contender for the NBA's Most Valuable Player award, the Dallas Mavericks have launched a unique campaign to bolster his candidacy. Before Wednesday's victory over the Miami Heat, players and team staff donned T-shirts emblazoned with "Pravi MVP," promoting Doncic for the MVP award.

The initiative, observed during pre-game warmups before the Mavs faced the Miami Heat, serves as a declaration of support for Doncic.

“We all knew how special this season was going to be,” Irving said. “We knew how special this year was going to be just based on our practices and what Luka was doing, showcasing that all the time, really being more vocal, challenging his teammates, challenging me, and doing it in his own way. And I think that’s the true sign of an MVP — coming into the season and really initiating himself into that leadership role and doing it on both ends of the floor. His stats speak for themselves.”

Dallas Mavericks wearing 'Pravi MVP' shirts for Luka Doncic's MVP campaign
Dallas Mavericks wearing 'Pravi MVP' shirts for Luka Doncic's MVP campaign / Grant Afseth - DallasBasketball.com

Doncic has delivered staggering statistical contributions, leading the NBA by scoring 33.9 points per game, holding the second spot in assists (9.8) and three-pointers made (284), and securing a notable place among the leaders with 21 triple-doubles (third) and a ninth-place ranking in steals per game (1.4). He is on track to become the first player to average at least 33 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists in a season.

Despite this, Doncic's name has often been overshadowed in MVP discussions, a phenomenon Mavs coach Jason Kidd attributes to Doncic's effortless mastery of the game.

“The game is too simple and too easy,” Kidd said about Doncic. “He makes it look too easy, unfortunately. That’s what happens with some of the greats when you talk about [Michael Jordan] and those guys. You take for granted their talent. And to say he's only 25, and he’s playing the game like no one else. When you talk about [Nikola Jokic] and Giannis, it’s a great compliment to European basketball and how dominant they are.”

Kidd shared a common joke around the Mavs organization about how Doncic may need to make a statement like Larry Bird, playing a game using only his left hand.

“We joke around that he might have to do the Larry Bird game and play left-handed,” Kidd said of Doncic. “But he might make that look easy, too.”

The "Pravi MVP" shirts first caught P.J. Washington's attention upon entering the locker room. Despite being unable to wear them during the game, the team's enthusiasm was palpable. Washington expressed his admiration for Doncic, calling him "the real MVP" and commending his exceptional season.

“We were trying to wear them during the game, but they didn’t let us,” Washington said. “But everybody was excited to have his shirt for sure. Credit to Luka for the season he’s had. He’s a special player and I’m just excited to be able to play with him and watch his greatness each and every night. He’s the real MVP.”

Washington confidently stated that Doncic has the best resume of all MVP candidates in this year's race, emphasizing how the Mavs won 50 games and ranked fifth in the Western Conference, with Doncic's production fueling those results.

“I think his resume shows and is better than anybody else’s resume,” Washington said. “I don’t feel like there’s a complete argument for anybody to have a better season than him this year. We’re fifth in the West right now; we’ve got 50 wins, and he’s playing the best basketball he’s playing right now. So, he’s the MVP.”

Kidd also addressed the potential underrepresentation of European players in MVP narratives, despite their significant contributions and achievements in recent years.

“Sometimes we might look at it that we have enough European players at the top and we can’t write about another one,” Kidd said. “Yes, I’m bias, but also I’ve had the opportunity to coach Giannis, and he’s great. I got to see (Jokic) up close, and he’s great. But I think European basketball is at an all-time high and they all should be written about.”

Doncic's excellence was further evidenced by his back-to-back Western Conference Player of the Month honors, mirroring Boston's Jayson Tatum's accolades in the Eastern Conference as the only player with multiple of these awards this season.

Irving expressed his support for Doncic's MVP candidacy, emphasizing the guard's critical role during Irving's absences. In 19 games he played without Irving in the lineup, Doncic led the Mavs to an 11-8 record, averaging 37.6 points, 11.3 assists, and 9.1 rebounds. When they shared the court, the results were highly impressive. When both superstars play, the Mavs are 35-16 in 51 games, producing a 120.3 offensive rating, a 109.8 defensive rating, and a 10.5 net rating in 1,297 minutes together.

“He’s held the team up when I wasn’t able to be in the lineup when I was injured,” Irving said of Doncic. “So, there are a lot of factors that attribute to his MVP case. And me as a brother of his, I have the utmost love and support to give him during this time, because I want to see him win the MVP.

“If it’s not going to be this year, it’s going to be in the eventual future and in the near future," Irving explained. "He’s mastered different nuances of the game and he’s continuing to explore his abilities and his talents, and it’s beautiful to be a part of.”

The T-shirt campaign is more than a show of support; it's a testament to Doncic's importance to the Mavs and their collective goal of success. Kidd summed up the sentiment, stressing the priority of team victories and Doncic's focus on championship aspirations over individual accolades.

“The shirts mean a lot to us to represent, but I think the most important thing he wants to do is win, and he’s always put that first,” Irving said. “He has a huge responsibility on this team every night, and he knows it. And it’s our job as brothers to make sure that we alleviate him of some of those responsibilities and make sure he knows we have his back. And we know how special he is.”

As the Mavs push for Doncic's MVP recognition, the campaign reflects a broader desire to celebrate his outstanding contributions and the team's aspirations for his acknowledgment as this season's Most Valuable Player.

“Sometimes it’s a waiting period, too,” Kidd said. “Sometimes you just have to wait and be patient for that award. But what I love about Luka is it’s about winning. It’s about winning a championship, playing the game the right way and being consistent.”

Whether Doncic wins the MVP award or not, he is surely bound to be named to the All-NBA First-Team for a fifth consecutive season. If that transpires, he will surpass Dirk Nowitzki, who finished his 21-year NBA career with four of these nominations, for the most in Mavs history.

Grant Afseth


Grant Afseth is a Dallas Mavericks reporter for MavericksGameday.com and an NBA reporter for NBA Analysis Network. He previously covered the Indiana Pacers and NBA for CNHI's Kokomo Tribune and various NBA teams for USA TODAY Sports Media Group. Follow him on Twitter (@grantafseth), Facebook (@grantgafseth), and YouTube (@grantafseth). You can reach Grant at grantafseth35@gmail.com.