At age 13, Luka Doncic left his mother to sign with Real Madrid. For the next six years, the Spanish club became Doncic’s family, giving him a place to grow as he transformed from a child prodigy into an international star, making his decision to leave Europe difficult. Last week, Doncic wrote a note to Real Madrid fans thanking them for their support.
To the fans of Madrid
Playing basketball is my life. My mother always says she doesn’t remember me doing anything else than throwing a basketball.
I don’t remember anything else either.
I feel very lucky. When I was 13 and I came to live in Madrid, I was thinking of fulfilling my dream of being a good basketball player. What I never thought was that this journey was the beginning of a path that would lead me to fulfill not one, but two dreams that only come true in movies: I have been a player of the best club in the world and, now, I will play in the best League of the world.
The good thing about basketball is that it’s one of the sports you’re most dependent on your teammates. And I don’t mean only the extraordinary players that I’ve been lucky enough to share the court with and have allowed me to learn from them as professionals and as people. There are many people in a team. The President, the managers, the coaches, the doctors, the physios, the delegates, the trainers, the club employees… thank you, everyone, thank you, infinite thanks. And, especially to Alberto Angulo, Pablo Sanudo, Dani Sarto, and Paco Redondo, who received a Slovenian child who had no idea of Spanish and took care of me as a child should be taken care of, making me a man. I love you very much.
As I also love Real Madrid, a club that has given me everything: the greatest sports successes, the values that will accompany me all life and the fighting spirit that makes you never give up, no matter the challenge.
I also want to thank the media for treating me with respect when I was a child and for judging me with affection when I became older.
Today, I write this letter to say goodbye especially to you, to the fans who have always supported me, forgiving my mistakes and enjoying my success. The fans who gave me goosebumps during my first standing ovation when I made my first three-pointer as 16 years old and also when I scored my last shot – another three, what a way to close the circle – 350 miles away from what I’ll always consider my home. Thank you so much. I will keep you in my heart.
From now on, there’s one more “Madridista” in Dallas. But as the Terminator said: I’ll be back!
What does this have to do with the Dallas Mavericks, you may ask. It’s simply that Luka shares the best quality of all the great Dallas-Fort Worth athletes: loyalty.
Dirk Nowitzki, Michael Young, Troy Aikman, and Mike Modano all played in DFW and have made the Metroplex their home. The players who embrace the city are the ones North Texas sports fans treat as royalty.
In 2016, Harrison Barnes signed an offer sheet with the Mavericks a few days before the shooting of four Dallas Police officers and one DART officer in downtown Dallas. Barnes wasted no time helping the city heal from the devastating tragedy before the ink was dry on his contract.
Since then, Barnes hasn’t stopped giving back to the community. His efforts have endeared himself to MFFLs regardless of what he does on the court. When it comes to embracing his new home, Luka Doncic has good role models. And there’s none better than Nowitzki. Dirk is the most beloved athlete in Dallas. That’s an achievement, especially in a town that pays more attention to the Cowboys’ offseason than a Mavs playoffs run.
Doncic can also learn how to adjust to his new hometown from Nowitzki. It goes beyond just Dirk, though. The Mavericks have one of the best track records when it comes helping foreign players adjust to life in the United States.
It’s apparent how much Doncic loves Real Madrid and their fans. It’s conceivable that he could grow to feel the same way about the Dallas Mavericks. He has the qualities to become a Dallas favorite. If he listens to those around him, it’s possible that Doncic can become a Dallas icon.