Dallas Mavericks wunderkind Luka Doncic has established himself as the prime candidate to replace LeBron James as the face of the NBA when the Los Angeles Lakers All-Star decides to retire.
Doncic quickly became one of the league’s biggest stars after making his debut in 2018-19. The Slovenian forward is averaging 26 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 7.9 assists over his four-year NBA career. Among his many accolades, he recorded more than 20 triple-doubles at the age of 21 or younger as the only player in the league’s history.
James has lauded Doncic in the past, calling him “an exceptional talent” back in 2020. Now, the four-time NBA player offered the Mavericks star an even bigger compliment, comparing the 22-year-old forward to himself.
“I love everything about his game,” James said. I love everything about him. The way he plays the game reminds me of the way I play the game. We’re just triple threats. We rebound. We pass, which is the number one thing on our mind, trying to keep our teammates engaged and keeping our teammates feeling good on the floor, keeping our teammates in rhythm.
“And we will put 40 on you too if you disrespect us.”
Doncic and James will share the court on Sunday, as the Lakers superstar picked the Mavericks forward to join Team LeBron’s reserves for the 2022 All-Star Game in Cleveland. James chose “Luka Magic” — as he called him — with his first pick in the second round of this year’s All-Star Draft.
James will be ‘smart’ about his minutes in All-Star Game
James will feature in his 18th All-Star Game on Sunday despite struggling with a minor knee injury — which he said would likely keep affecting him until the end of the season.
But the 37-year-old forward said he would approach his performance in the event with caution, making sure he doesn’t put too much burden on his body.
“If I needed more rest, then I’m not trying to burn out during the All-Star Game, but at the same time I’m going to give the fans a little bit of something because this is what it’s all about. Just being smart about it, obviously,” James said.
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