This is no revelation to passionate fans of the Dallas Mavericks, but the good people of Mexico City certainly seemed delighted to learn that the Mavs' Thursday visit for a game against the Detroit Pistons (resulting in a 122-111 victory), have a multi-cultural roster with a Spanish-speaking flair.
Said NBA Mexico exec Raul Zarraga, via Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News, before the game: “People were really cheering for the Mavs. I’m sure the same thing will happen Thursday, especially with the current level of play the Mavs are having — and of course Barea, Porzingis and Luka Doncic.”
Indeed it did. First Doncic took the mic to make an introduction.
It was so well-received that Blake Griffin of the Pistons didn't much want to have to follow it.
Then the fans of Mexico City wasted no time in starting up "MVP'' chants for Doncic. And of course then came the performance, the best of its kind in the history of the NBA in Mexico City, Luka scoring 41 (with 12 rebounds and 11 assists) and doing it all in his usual electrifying manner.
“We came here to get the win,” Luka said. “And that’s what we did.”
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The Mavs trio of JJ Barea, Kristaps Porzingis, and Luka Doncic, as MFFL know, is fluent in Spanish. Luka and the fellas have discussed speaking in Spanish while on the court as a way of disguising their intentions.
None of the fellas are, of course, from Mexico. Porzingis is from Latvia. Doncic is from Slovenia. JJB is from Puerto Rico. But the lack of a language barrier is enough for the Mavs to have become, at least for a couple of days, "Mexico's Team.''
And of course it spreads beyond one week and one game.
"I get a lot of (social media) messages in Spanish,” said Porzingis. “A lot of times people find out that I speak Spanish because I listen to Spanish music, Latin rap or whatever.”
KP learned to speak Spanish because as a teenager he began playing professionally in Spain, as did Luka. Doncic learned something else in his travels, too, which is maybe why no stage seems to large for him.
“He’s a lightning bolt everywhere,” Carlisle said. “This is not new territory for him or for us. He’s one of the most popular players in the world, one of the best players in the world, a blast to watch. He creates a lot of excitement wherever he goes. He’s a competitor and he’s a winner. That’s all the components of a guy that anybody would like to watch.”