There is a moment in the new movie, A Star Is Born, where Jackson Maine (Bradley Cooper) invites Ally (Lady Gaga) onstage with him to sing for the first time as a duet. The song is titled, “Shallow.” Ally clearly has the voice of a star, but she lacks confidence and an overall stage presence. However, there’s a note in the bridge towards the end of the song where Ally grabs the mic with authority, belts out the note, and owns the stage. It’s in this moment where the audience realizes Ally’s true potential and that she is a star in the making.
Ally’s huge note that jumpstarted her path to superstardom mirrors Luka Doncic’s miraculous shot from the other night against the Houston Rockets. Early in the first quarter, Doncic received a pass on the wing and was suffocated by last year’s MVP, James Harden. With the shot clock winding down, Doncic made a quick move to the corner and attempted to step back for a three. However, Harden was right in his grill the entire time. Doncic pump faked, which made Harden leave his feet, created space, reset, and then launched the shot. The rest is history.
With that play, a star was born. That play symbolizes Doncic’s young NBA career in a nutshell. This play showed the 19-year-old’s versatilely, creativity, and guts. This is not your ordinary teenager. Throughout 19 games, the 6’7″ forward is averaging 19.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game. For reference, only eight players in the NBA matched those numbers last season, and seven of them made All-NBA. With numbers like those, Doncic is the clear frontrunner for Rookie of the Year.
By the way, Doncic also made this shot during their 128-108 win over the Rockets. Doncic is not only a great player but a showman with a flair for the dramatic. “We’ve said from day one, he’s almost like a matador,” said Dirk Nowitzki in an article for Sports Illustrated. “He loves playing off the crowd, loves to make spectacular plays.”
What’s even more impressive than Doncic’s stats is his ability to elevate his team. When Doncic arrived in Dallas, it was quite apparent that they found their replacement for Nowitzki, who would carry the torch for the next decade and lead the Mavs to greatness. Doncic may have been acquired to lead the future, but that process has been expedited to the current team as Doncic is slowly becoming the team’s number one option. Doncic leads the Mavs in scoring and has helped Dallas start off with a 10-9 record, which if the season ended today, would make them the 8th seed in the playoffs. It’s remarkable considering the Mavs started off the season 3-7, but are winners of 7 of their last 8.
Dallas is not a championship team right now, but Doncic makes the Mavs exciting with a promising future. If the front office continues to build a team around this rising superstar, Dallas could be a force in the Western Conference for years to come.
Here’s to the matador. May he continue to baffle defenses for years to come. I leave you with the potential song of the year from The Ringer, “Halleluka.”