The Slovenian basketball federation president, Matej Erjavec via a video conference with the local press Monday explained how Luka Doncic really wanted to help his national team in the upcoming games of the EuroBasket qualifiers but was not allowed. Doncic, 21, was keen on playing for Slovenia in the games versus Ukraine and Hungary scheduled to be held in Ljubliana on November 28 and 30, respectively. He even discussed his strong desire with Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban, However, the lack of agreement between FIBA and NBA ultimately stopped him.
Luka Doncic strongly wants to play again with the Slovenian team. Along with the Basketball Association of Slovenia, he is making great efforts to be able to play in the upcoming qualifiers, but due to the NBA season timing, the probability is very small. The decision on whether Doncic, who has been training with national team coaches for the last four weeks, will be able to join the national team will be known at the end of the week.
Little did Doncic know on February 28, when he met U.S. Ambassador to Slovenia Lynda C. Blanchard before the Mavs-Heat game on Slovenian Night at Miami’s American Airlines Arena, that he soon would need Blanchard’s help. And Doncic almost certainly didn’t fathom that the help he would need stemmed from a developing worldwide pandemic that would force the NBA season into hiatus on the night of March 11, just 12 days after that Dallas-Miami game. The hiatus would last more than 100 days, during which Doncic returned to his hometown of Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Ljubljana-based Blanchard and her embassy staff were able to connect Doncic’s personal advisors at BDA Sports Management in contact with the Slovenian embassy in Washington, D.C. to ensure that he was aware of requirements for entry into Slovenia. Those contacts later made sure Doncic and his family knew where to find the latest information on regulations for re-entering the U.S. “She [Blanchard] helped me from the United States during corona to Slovenia, with all the papers you’ve got to do,” Doncic said Thursday. “And to come back [to Dallas], too. It was very helpful.”
A Heat official said they expect at least 2,500 Slovenians in attendance for the third matchup between Dragic and Doncic. Last year it started with a Facebook message among a few fans. It spawned into a group page that planned a trip to Miami so they could watch in person.