The postseason didn’t go how Luka Doncic wanted. But the Mavericks’ star guard didn’t let that get him down for too long.
He led his native Slovenia to its first berth in the Olympics, capping it off with a triple-double on Sunday in a 96-85 victory over Lithuania in a last-chance qualifying tournament.
Doncic had 31 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds to book a trip to Tokyo for the Summer Olympics. With a population of 2.1 million, Slovenia will be the smallest country to participate in an Olympic men’s basketball tournament since Estonia and Latvia in 1936. That was the inaugural Olympic tournament.
Four years ago, Doncic led Slovenia to the 2017 European Championship as an 18-year-old. After failing to reach the 2019 FIBA World Cup, this was its only chance to qualify for the Olympics.
Getting there was not easy. Lithuania has been one of the best basketball nations in recent years, and its roster included NBA stars Domantas Sabonis of the Pacers and Jonas Valanciunas of the Grizzlies. But Doncic and Slovenia got the better of them.