Luka Doncic is a little bit starstruck as prepares for his first experience in the All-Star Game, writes Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News. Doncic will start for Team LeBron in tonight’s game, but first came a weekend that included the Rising Stars Challenge, practice sessions with a more experienced group of All-Stars and a chance to interact with legends of the game, including a Jordan Brand party Friday night where he met Michael Jordan for the first time.
“It was something amazing,” Doncic said. “I was too nervous. I forgot to ask him for a picture.”
A few days shy of his 21st birthday, Doncic will become the youngest European to ever play in the All-Star Game, Townsend notes. He’s the sixth-youngest starter in the game’s history and the youngest since LeBron James was a starter 15 years ago. His coaches will include former Mavericks guard and current Lakers assistant Jason Kidd, who will help run Team LeBron as part of Frank Vogel’s staff.
“I told [Doncic] we’re going to play him 40 of the 48 minutes,” Kidd joked. “When you’re young, you can play all the minutes in the world. So there won’t be any load management.”
There’s more Mavericks news to pass along:
- One of the most memorable moments of Doncic’s second NBA season was the night in Staples Center when Kobe Bryant trash talked him in Slovenian. The encounter took on added significance with Bryant’s death a few weeks later. Marc Stein of The New York Times says Bryant picked up the off-color phrases from former teammate Sasha Vujacic. “It’s going to be one moment that I remember for the rest of my life,” Doncic said. “Obviously I was hoping there would be more times with him, maybe even practice with him some day, but a terrible thing happened.”
- Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is grateful for the opportunity to restart his career in Dallas after reaching a buyout with the Hornets, relays Callie Caplan of The Dallas Morning News, and the Mavs believe he can be a valuable contributor as the games become more important. “The guy has a reputation for being a gamer and a hell of a competitor,” coach Rick Carlisle said.
- Mavericks co-founder Norm Sonju received the Jerry Colangelo Award at Saturday’s All-Star breakfast, according to Dwain Price of Mavs.com. The award recognizes someone in management who lives an exemplary life on and off the court and while expressing high character, leadership and faith. Sonju served as team president and general manager before retiring in 1996.