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NBA: Luka Doncic will get heat welcome from ex-club Actual Madrid in Spain

Dallas Mavericks’ guard and former Actual Madrid’s participant Luka Doncic poses after receiving the Actual Madrid’s honor insigna from Actual Madrid’s Spanish president Florentino Perez (L) prior the NBA Preseason sport between the Dallas Mavericks and Actual Madrid Baloncesto on the Wizink centre in Madrid on October 10, 2023. (Photograph by JAVIER SORIANO / AFP)

MADRID — Luka Doncic returned to Spain to a heat reception from former membership Actual Madrid in a preseason sport with the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday, receiving a standing ovation by the house followers and being honored by his former teammates.

The “Luuukaaa” chants have been again within the Spanish capital 5 years after the star guard left for the NBA, and the Slovenian seemed moved whereas watching his previous highlights on the large display earlier than the sport.

Doncic, who was not totally match, performed lower than 5 minutes and scored 9 factors in Dallas’ 127-123 loss towards his former membership. Tim Hardaway Jr. led all scorers with 21 factors for the Mavs, which additionally misplaced its two preseason video games towards the Minnesota Timberwolves final week in Abu Dhabi.

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“I used to be ready for this sport all summer season,” Doncic stated. “Excluding not having the ability to play extra, it was all very particular. The entire day was very particular.”

Doncic stated he couldn’t play extra minutes as a result of he was bothered by some hip ache he began feeling in coaching on Monday.

Facundo Campazzo, who was signed and waived by Dallas final yr, led Madrid’s late rally and completed with 20 factors for the hosts. Doncic’s former teammate Sergio Llull and Vincent Poirier scored 19 factors every for the Spanish membership. Doncic went 3 for six with one help, scoring all of his factors with 3-pointers.

The Doncic jerseys have been all over the place on the Wizink Heart area — the blue ones with the No. 77 that he wears now with the Mavericks, and the white ones with the No. 7 he used to put on with the membership he joined as a younger teenager.

“I don’t know what to say. It’s a big day for me,” Doncic instructed the group in Spanish earlier than the sport. “I’ve seen my former teammates and folks I had been with a few years in the past. Thanks all.”

Doncic acquired an award by Actual Madrid president Florentino Pérez as an honorary member of the membership, and was given a duplicate of one of many trophies he received with Madrid. He held the reproduction at midcourt alongside a few of his former teammates and present Madrid gamers.

“Luka deserves all of this and much more,” Campazzo stated.

“Luka is again,” and “Actual Madrid will at all times be your own home,” learn a number of the indicators displayed by Madrid followers, a lot of which bought autographs from the previous star.

A crowd of almost 13,000 packed the Wizink Heart to see their former idol, typically chanting his title in hopes of seeing him return into the sport.

Doncic saluted the group and chatted along with his former teammates from the bench, at occasions joking and laughing with them. He additionally greeted a few of Actual Madrid’s soccer gamers readily available, together with midfielder Toni Kroos and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

A four-time NBA All-Star and All-NBA First Crew member, Doncic was 13 when he joined Actual Madrid and went on to develop into the youngest EuroLeague and EuroLeague Closing 4 MVP when he led the membership to the 2018 title at age 19.

Doncic stated he want to play once more for Actual Madrid in some unspecified time in the future in his profession.

“If I do come again, it might be to play for Madrid, for positive,” he stated.

It was the primary preseason NBA sport within the Spanish capital since 2016, when Doncic and Actual Madrid hosted — and beat — the Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder. He additionally performed for Madrid towards the Boston Celtics the yr earlier than.

The sport was the NBA’s eighth within the Spanish capital and twentieth in Spain, coming 35 years after an NBA workforce first performed within the nation in 1988.

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