But don’t think we take this job lightly.
The first order of business was to create a grading system, so we could start on an even playing field. Breaking it down in to four categories, giving a score of 1-10 in each, we could identify the best of the best in Luka GIF-dom.
First, Composition/Impact (C), looking at the makeup of the GIF itself. The direction, the timing and angle, the framing and story of Luka. Next, Versatility (V), meaning, can this GIF be used in a variety of ways or a variety of occasions? Third, Humor (H), is this GIF funny — because we all know the life of a GIF is heavily dependent on how funny it is. And finally, Staying Power (SP): what will the life of this GIF be? Will we be using it next week/month/year?
No GIF received a perfect score (because the best is yet to come). Sifting through them all is quite a task. There will be disagreement, there may even be hurt feelings. But above all know that this is the definitive Luka Doncic GIF Rankings, and it is 100 percent accurate and correct.
(Due to some publishing restrictions, links to GIFs can be found in the titles, should it not show up on your device)
*A note before we begin. There are a lot of great Luka GIFs, but a few more I’d still like to see: a GIF with a fan, a GIF with a prop, a GIF with Rick Carlisle, and most importantly a GIF with Dirk Nowitzki.
10. “Vaudeville Luka”
C: 7 V: 5 H: 8 SP: 5 TOTAL: 25
This GIF made the list partially because in my digging through pages of Luka GIFs, this one caught me by surprise. I don’t think I’d ever seen it before. It’s funny, the walk is obviously the feature of the GIF. But also, this is pregame and Luka is very excited to play basketball. He’s ready to put on a show. But no one seems to be paying attention to him, and that’s hilarious. Points off for a player blocking most of the frame. And the staying power isn’t strong here — since I’ve seen this nowhere, ever. But a worthy addition to the rolodex.
9. “Draft Night Luka”
C: 7 V: 7 H: 7 SP: 5 TOTAL: 26
This was everyone’s feeling draft night. For a brief moment we had to see Luka taking photos on stage in an unfortunate Atlanta Hawks hat. But soon after we got this. This is teenage clubbing Luka. This is Mamma Mia! loving Luka. This is Luka giving us a peak at his goofy side, never taking himself too seriously. Just a basketball playing, Fortnite loving, teenage millionaire. Points off for only making me smile.
8. “Hot Hand Luka”
C: 7 V: 8 H: 5 SP: 7 TOTAL: 27
This is us looking in to the future and seeing Luka in his prime, being the player every other team loves to hate. He’s clutch, cocky, and goshdarnit you just can’t stop him. Extra points for it following a clutch shot at home.
7. “Hero Luka”
C: 7 V: 7 H: 7 SP: 7 TOTATL: 28
I went searching for the perfect step back GIF. There were decent candidates, but nothing that fully captured the thrill of watching Luka step back in real time. The artistry of shaking a defender off and creating a mile of separation in a split second. So, I went to the insane. At first I wanted to be zoomed in to see the absurdity of this shot. But getting the reactions of everyone (Jalen Brunson and Wesley Matthews calling it) involved is worth it. Is it funny? It’s hilarious that a TEENAGER is making clutch shots on the road like this. The best kind of hero ball. Points off for this being a loss. Extra points for hitting this on the road in front of Portland’s bench.
6. “Kissable Luka”
C: 9 V: 6 H: 7 SP: 7 TOTAL: 29
The on-court relationship of Luka Doncic and DeAndre Jordan is very GIF-able. And while there are no rebounds involved, this one may tell the story best. DJ approaches, grabs him — to scold? Noooo. To kiss the Prince of the Dallas Hardwood. Then shoves him away to send him off in to battle. This whole GIF is of course made by the string of emotions Luka goes through in about half a second. You nearly see him roll his eyes, then contemplative, then delighted and bashful. This isn’t an oft used GIF, so the staying power feels lacking, but extra points for knowing we’ll be the DJ of this GIF for a very long time.
5. “Self-Five Luka”
C: 6 V: 7 H: 10 SP: 7 TOTAL: 30
This GIF should have a higher score. In theory. A newly-haircutted-Luka wants to celebrate. He turns for a classic high-five, only to be shunned by his two robot teammates, walking in unison to plug in to their charging portals. This is the subtle humor of Luka Doncic. But here, composition takes a hit. It’s blurry, there’s some sort of strobing flashbulb effect. My eyes hurt. Find me a cleaner take and maybe it moves up the list.
4. “Very Pleased Luka”
C: 8 V: 8 H: 8 SP: 7 TOTAL: 31
This is my sleeper favorite. It could be recency bias as the newest addition to the catalog. The camera work is fantastic, the addition of an oblivious Devin Harris. The Mavericks were in the middle of relegating the Charlotte Hornets, Luka done for the night, delighted by what he sees, gives a “Me Hero” golf clap. Extra points for the gum chewing onlooker in the back. I think this one could be around a while.
3. “Poolside Luka”
C: 10 V: 9 H: 7 SP: 9 TOTAL: 35
We’re now entering the top tier. This is the GIF we lived by for all of last season. It was all we knew of him for a time. I must admit, it’s intimidating. A teenage superstar, so sure of himself, yet so goofy. It’s probably worth mentioning that this is probably a GIF that turned some people off to Luka last year. High points for composition (did Ryan Coogler direct this GIF?). This ones been dormant for most of this year, but I have a feeling it will make a comeback.
2. “Crazed Luka”
C: 9 V: 8 H: 10 SP: 9 TOTAL: 36
This is probably the one that sealed Luka’s GIF-ability. It’s what got him his GIF agent, and we should be expecting Luka to win plenty of GIFcademy Awards. This is crazed Luka. Absurdist Luka. The look up, the zoom in. Extra points for this coming on a monster clutch play from Dennis Smith Jr. This stands as his funniest GIF, and the staying power is strong here.
1. “Cheerleader Luka”
C: 9 V: 8 H:10 SP: 10 TOTAL: 37
In these top GIFs we really had to split hairs. This gets extra points for continuing the Luka-DJ storyline, for happening in-game, and for happening with so many teammates. The Mavericks are a team half full of veterans — a serious team with a serious coach. Over the last two seasons there has been an injection of youth, and it’s moments like these, seeing it infect the roster, that I just can’t get enough of. This is the end of a roller-coaster RomCom, where after all the drama, the two young hopefuls finally connect. Teamwork makes the dream work!