Belgium complains Luka Doncic gets different treatment from refs

Donatas Urbonas
Senior Staff Writer
2022-09-10 16:00

Belgium national team head coach Dario Gjergja hinted that he lacked equality in this EuroBasket 2022, while his center Kevin Tumba said Luka Doncic gets a different treatment from the referees.

Credit: FIBA

Belgium national team finished its proud EuroBasket 2022 campaign but left the floor with mixed feelings about equality.

With 9 minutes to play, Kevin Tumba made a layup, and Belgium took the lead against the European champions Slovenia, 64-63.

However, Slovenia went on a 19-1 run and advanced to the quarterfinals 88-72.

Player of the Game
Luka  Doncic
Luka Doncic
Points 35
Accuracy 11-25
Rebounds 5
Assists 5

During that pivotal stretch, Belgium center Kevin Tumba got into a scuffle with Luka Doncic.

He elbowed the Slovenian star while trying to beat him on the post. Soon after the foul was called, both players got into a heated altercation.

After a video review, Tumba received an unsportsmanlike foul.

A few minutes before, when Tumba was on his way to defense, he was bumped by Doncic and fell to the ground. However, the referees didn't call a foul.

"I tried to play hard, but for sure, it's Luka. Sometimes he makes fouls, and the referee doesn't see. But when another guy does something, of course, they see it," Tumba said BasketNews.

"But this is EuroBasket. You should be fair to everybody. And the referee should whistle in the same way for everybody," Circus Brussels big man concluded.

Credit FIBA

A 31-year-old center wasn't happy that Luka gets a different treatment from the officials.

"We tried to be focused on ourselves. But sometimes referees need to be fair with everybody. It's not because he is Luka and can talk to the referees like he wants. When the other guy tries to talk with the referee very calmly, he responds, "don't talk to me." I don't know..." Tumba.

"I'm very, very proud of my guys. They deserve much better. We competed for 32 minutes. We even took the lead. But two mistakes punished us on the other side," Belgium coach Dario Gjergja started his official statement.

"In the past few weeks, I listened a lot about equality. But equality doesn't exist in basketball," he also continued.

BasketNews asked the coach to expand on that.

"You're smart, you know very well what I mean," Gjergja smiled.

"I've been listening about 50/50 for the last two months. 50/50... Everything will be 50/50. Everything will be fair and the same for everybody. But that's not. Let's stop lying to each other," the Belgium coach concluded.

On the other hand, Doncic, who became just the third player who scored 30+ points in three consecutive EuroBasket games, emphasized how physical the Belgium team was.

"They played very tough. They have a lot of physical potential. They're playing tough. They're playing a great game. They fought with us, went physical, made shots, and played beautiful basketball. But yes, they played physical," Doncic said.

The Dallas Mavericks star scored 35 points on 11 of 25 shooting, grabbed five rebounds, dished five assists, and made four steals.

"The game plan was very simple. We tried to switch on Luka, make him take tough shots, and not involve other guys. We tried, but we failed," Tumba explained.

Although his coach emphasized his pride in his team, Tumba hopes Belgium will advance further in future competitions.

"Yes, of course," asked if Belgium should be proud of their EuroBasket 2022 campaign. "But we still want more. "

After the game, Luka Doncic refused to shake his hand.

"I don't know..." Tumba told BasketNews when asked about the reason behind that. "I just tried to check his hand, but he didn't want. Life goes on. I don't care."

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