The Dallas Mavericks have one of the best young basketball stars in the world in Luka Dončić, whose rise to stardom has happened very quickly. But his impact on North Texas goes way beyond the game as he continues to make a name for himself… and others.
“He’s become pretty much the face of the NBA right now,” said Mavericks fan and NBC 5 sports producer Victor Nguyen. “So many people have become fans in such a short amount of time.”
So many fans who know the name, cheer for the name, and now, are using the name for their children.
According to Baylor Scott and White, the name “Luka” has skyrocketed in popularity by more than 400% since the Mavs star arrived in Dallas.
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So we asked the 6-foot, 7-inch superstar: “Luka, you’re used to signing autographs and seeing your jersey in the stands, but what goes through your mind when you hear people are literally naming their children after you?”
“I think that’s way different than the jerseys,” Dončić said. “Obviously, jerseys, basketball players, you see people in your jersey. But this is something for your whole life. It’s something that hits different for me. It’s really, really, really special. I’ve got to say thank you to everybody. I don’t know what to say. But to me, it’s a big deal and it’s very special.”
Very special, and a decision NBC 5 sports producer and big Mavericks fan Victor Nguyen and his wife Daisy agreed was the right choice for their son, Maximillian Luka Nguyen, who was born in February.
“It wasn’t an immediate yes,” Victor said. “I kind of had to work her a little bit. There were a few months of persuasion once we learned we were having a boy. I think I pestered her enough over the past few months where she finally gave in for the past few months as the middle name, not the first name. That was a compromise.”
“We told my mother-in-law what the middle name was and who he was named after, and her first question was 'is he a good player?'” said Daisy. “Once we said yes, she said, 'ok, I guess that’s acceptable then.'”
Named after a pretty good player whose NBA journey began by being surrounded by basketball since he was just emerging from the crib, though, at 22, he isn’t quite ready to start making decisions about names for future Dončićs.
Question: So people are naming their kids after you, but if you had to name one of your Mavs teammates, who would it be?
“I’m sticking to some other names,” Doncic said with a laugh. “It’s still a long way to go, so I’ll think about that. I’ll let you know in a couple years.”
Photos: Luka Makes a Name for Himself… and Others
In the meantime, Luka’s name recognition just continues to grow, with the second best-selling jersey in the entire NBA, with a style of play fans can’t get enough of.
“Clearly he’s an entertainer, where he’s bouncing the ball off his chest, kicking it in the basket, doing all this crazy stuff that’s going viral, and fans love it, they are totally into him,” said Mavericks play-by-play announcer Chuck Cooperstein. “And I think he’s a basketball savant. He knows exactly what he’s doing out there that few 22-year olds have ever had that feeling about them.”
A rare feeling, for a rare player, with Luka making a name for himself and now for many of the newest North Texans – like Maximillian Luka Nguyen.