Luka Doncic's father reacts to 47-point night, responds to critics

Donatas Urbonas
Senior Staff Writer
2022-09-07 19:21

Luka Doncic's father Sasa Doncic enjoyed watching his son scoring 47 points in the EuroBasket 2022 victory over France. However, he was mostly concerned about his health after a bloody hit to his head.

Credit: FIBA

What's the first thing you expect to hear from a father when his son just put up the 2nd highest all-time EuroBasket scoring performance in front of his eyes?

"How is your head?" Sasa Doncic asked straight after the game when his son Luka passed by through the media area of Lanxess arena.

Just before halftime, Vincent Poirier accidentally elbowed Luka Doncic, who left the floor bleeding.

Player of the Game
Luka  Doncic
Luka Doncic
Points 47
Accuracy 15-23
Rebounds 7
Assists 5

Luka responded and left for the locker room to celebrate a tough victory against France, which clinched first place in the group of death.

Sasa continued his program with a famous Slovenian sports journalist Sanja Modric. A 48-year-old coach is here with the Slovenian television 24UR and works as an analyst.

"He said he is okay," around fifteen minutes later, Sasa Doncic explained in an exclusive interview to BasketNews.

As crazy as it may sound to basketball fans, when you're a father, there are more important things than a historical 47-point night against Olympics finalists France.

"At this moment, the most important thing was to see if he was okay. He got a lot of hits in this game. A lot of punches. But he is happy. And he is okay," Doncic smiled.

When you have a chance to talk to him again, what will you say to Luka? 
Maybe we will go for some dinner and won't talk about basketball because he always talks about it. It's basketball and basketball...

I'll ask him normal questions: how is he? What is he doing? (smiles) 

How do you feel as a father watching your son making history?
Honestly, I'm getting older. And my heart is not so good anymore (smiles). These kind of games... Ugh! My pressure is always going up. But now, I'm okay (smiles).

It's beautiful to watch a game like this. Because today both teams were great. I love basketball, and we saw all the beauty of the game today.

It was a good and tough game. I would say the men's game. It gives us the best things about basketball. We saw everything.

This is why people come to watch games. They come to arenas to see games like this. I really enjoyed it.

Luka got elbowed and started bleeding. He also injured his finger. The opponents are physical with him. How do you feel as a father watching him being punched possession after possession?
I think maybe I should jump on the court (laughs.) No, no. He's used to it. It's totally normal. 

If you're the best player, the opponents will try to stop you no matter what.

Do you think referees allow too much contact against him?
In the NBA, everything is okay because if the referee sees a foul, that's a foul. And it doesn't matter if he whistled five or five hundred times before. Here it's a little bit different.

Maybe I'm not the guy who should say it. But especially with Goran Dragic and Luka Doncic, who both have the very fast first step, they try to stop them with their hands. This is illegal. This is foul.

And every second, every third contact, they lose it. And this is maybe a problem of European basketball.

Luka Doncic likes to talk to referees about those calls. But don't you think that sometimes he's wasting too much energy on it?
Who knows? You have players who waste energy like that. But we also have players who fuel themselves with it.

You have players who feel comfortable talking to opponent players, coaches, fans, and teammates.

Obviously, Luka likes it.

Some people are also concerned about his physical shape. What do you think about that?
What do I really think? People who say that should ask themselves if they know what basketball is. If they see a problem with Luka, that he has too much weight or I don't even know what... He's Top 5 in the NBA.

He's almost the MVP of every game here in the EuroBasket. And everybody is talking about some bad things.

But go to the court and try to stop him. If he's so bad, like everybody says, stop him on the court.

Lithuanian shooting guard Marius Grigonis said he thinks Slovenia from EuroBasket 2017 was better than the current team. Do you agree with that?
In 2017, Luka played his first EuroBasket. He was 18.

You have Luka, 23, after four years in the NBA. You have Cancar, who is now 25. He was 20 in 2017. 

You have Goran Dragic, who is still on the top level. Maybe Randolph was... But Tobey is also a good player. The coaching staff is similar.

I don't know why they think the 2017 team was better.

I'm telling you, they're more experienced now. They're older, but they play better. I think this is a much stronger team than in 2017.

And we also need to recognize that this EuroBasket is much stronger than in 2017. Slovenia won the group, but this was the strongest in the EuroBasket.

Which team might give Luka Doncic and Slovenia the biggest challenge?
To tell you honestly, I know that Lithuania had bad luck in the beginning.

They lost three games in the last two minutes. Honestly, I think they have a lot of chances.

France is a good team. German is a good team. Slovenia is a good team.

And we have Serbia, who play amazingly. Greece, Spain, Turkey... Don't be surprised if Montenegro or Belgium will show up.

This EuroBasket is really good.

Which particular team is the toughest matchup for you guys?
I think Serbia. Especially Serbia... And also maybe Greece.

I think this is the Top 3 of this EuroBasket: Serbia, Greece, and Slovenia.

Credit SIPA - Scanpix

Slovenia lost to Germany in the World Cup qualifiers. They also failed against Bosnia and Herzegovina. We saw Luka questioning his teammates' competitiveness. How do Slovenians handle the favorites status?
This qualifiers game was strange. That was a bad day for everybody. The game was early, and they were traveling... There were a lot of things. I think they were focused on the EuroBasket.

This loss against Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was great that day, wasn't a disaster.

Maybe this loss was even good for players to clear things up. To tell what they really think. But after that, they just switched the gear up and went up.

We won against Germany. Then we beat France without Mike Tobey. These are two great teams.

Do you believe there is a player in this EuroBasket that can surpass Luka's 47-point record?
There are a lot of players that could beat that. But we know how hard it is to do it in Europe. We play different defense than in the NBA.

Antetokounmpo had 41. Jokic is here... There are some players who can do it.

But I will tell you the most important thing. It doesn't matter if it's 47, 57, or 67 points. Okay, it's good if you win, but if you score 67 and lose, it doesn't matter for Luka.

And this is the greatest thing about him. He is happier if his team wins and he stays scoreless than if he scores 100 points, but his team loses.

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