Breaking News
More () »

'Basketball is my peace place': A sit-down with Luka Doncic about what keeps him motivated

The Slovenian native fell in love with basketball as a kid more than 5,000 miles away from Texas. Now in Dallas, the star wants to etch his name among the legends.

DALLAS — Luka Doncic was born into the game... and lives for it.

At just 13 years old, he joined the Real Madrid professional team and made his debut at 16.

Now, still, at the young age of 23, Doncic continues to impress the NBA -- and the world -- with his play.

So young, so talented. But what makes him tick?

What motivates a kid from Slovenia who's more than 5,000 miles away from home?

"What do you really miss from Slovenia that you can't get here in Dallas?" I asked him.

"Probably my friends. You know, they're always there. They're in school, so they can't really travel. But, just home. Just being home. You know, where I was from, where I was born, just being home," Doncic said.

And now that the Lone Star State is his home: "I need your best Texan accent," I asked.

"I don't know how to do that accent," Doncic said with a laugh. "I don't know. I just know y'all."

That's a good start.

Doncic may need to work on his Texas accent, but there's one thing that's not in doubt -- his fluency in basketball.

"What do you think those players who were already in the NBA and having success saw in your game that made them welcome you the way they did?" I asked.

"You know, I wasn't really the athletic guy, going from Europe, they didn't really know what to expect. But I think just the way I read the game, probably that's it," Doncic said.

"Kobe [Bryant] was sitting courtside and you hear somebody speaking Slovenian and you're like, 'who on earth is that?' What did that moment mean to you? Especially now when you look back and think about that way he welcomed you?" I asked.

"I mean, it was amazing. You know, the first time I met him, the first thing he said to me was 'Watch out, you know. They're to come after you because you're from Europe and they're going to come after you.' And he was right," Doncic said.

"I just saw recently where LeBron tweeted out again and I've heard him say this on camera that you are his favorite player to watch. What does that feel like?" I asked.

"Yeah, it's amazing. I mean, it's LeBron, he's one of the top guys ever to play basketball. Really amazing to hear those words from him," Doncic said.

NBA legend Michael Jordan himself recognizes Doncic's seemingly boundless potential. From Slovenia to signing on with the Jordan Brand.

"Now everybody I meet, they say, 'Where's my shoes?' Every person I meet," Doncic said jokingly. "Outside jokes, it's amazing. You know, I'm really comfortable with the shoe. It looks great, feels comfortable. It's everything I want in a shoe."

Although Doncic's talent is out of this world, he's got a human side, too.

I asked him what his favorite cheat meal is... and his favorite musical artists.

"Probably pasta. You know, since I was young and always my favorite was pasta. So that's probably a good meal, too," Doncic said.

"I'll probably say Drake. He's my favorite."

Then, I asked him some rapid-fire questions.

"Morning person or night?"


"Sweet tea or unsweetened?"


"Favorite thing to do on your day off?"

"Lay on the couch."

Meanwhile, this 6-foot-7 Dallas star is most eloquent when talking about his love for the game.

"The best advice a coach has ever given you?" I asked.

"Enjoy the game."

"Basketball is my peace place. I always want to go there. I forget about everything that's going on off the court," Doncic said.

"I just enjoy playing basketball."

And we all just enjoy watching.

Before You Leave, Check This Out