Et is said that the game on March 18, 1968 in Philadelphia was legendary. However, the memories have long since faded. Because in the annals of the statistics-fixated National Basketball Association (NBA) there is only a poor number structure with the names of the professionals involved. After all, it contains two measured values that catch your eye right away: the final result of 158:128 after 48 minutes and an unbelievable hunt for points. And the personal record of Wilt Chamberlain, who towered over everyone with his 2.16 meters.
The center of the Philadelphia 76ers had not only often stuffed the ball into the basket for the Los Angeles Lakers that evening and scored an impressive 53 points. He had a total of 32 rebounds and served 14 assists to his teammates. A grandiose performance, a spectacle for eternity?
“I’m tired as hell”
Until Luca Dončić played on Tuesday in the game against the New York Knicks: 60 points, 21 rebounds and ten assists. The point guard and top scorer for the Dallas Mavericks smiled at the TV camera after the final siren at his feat. He urgently needs a beer to regenerate, said Dončić: “I’m tired as hell.”
Now there isn’t that huge a difference between Chamberlain and Dončić when looking at these numbers. But putting the two side by side would immediately reveal what is so amazing about Dončić. It is 15 centimeters smaller and yet tall enough at 2.01 meters to excel in all important categories. He’s already able to do that at the age of 23 because his mind seems to be ahead of everyone during the game.
On the way to his complete work of the evening, he managed a special cabinet piece: A second before the end of regulation time, he deliberately missed a free throw, caught the bouncing ball and converted it. It was only with this fine art – with two points instead of just one per last free throw – that he forced the overtime, which ended with the 126:121 win for Dallas. A magician plays for Dallas.
The Mavericks depend on every win. They’ll be lucky if they reach the playoffs with some degree of comfort. Although Dončić is currently second in the NBA’s scoring list with an average (!) of 33.6 points per game. The Mavericks are obviously still missing a few players with special skills for their first title win after the end of the Nowitzki era.
Nowitzki had held the team-internal record until Tuesday and on Christmas Day at the unveiling of his larger-than-life jump shot monument in front of the hall in Dallas Dončić: He hopes that the Slovenian will play for the team as long as he does and not in search of it great success. Dončić didn’t accept the assist: “I don’t know if it will be something at the age of 21. That’s a long time for a basketball career. I prefer to go back to my farm in Slovenia.”
Sometimes a beer after the big performance, sometimes a cigarette after a European Championship preparatory game against Germany: Dončić has his own idea of what is good for him. So far, it hasn’t hurt the basketball show before it gets serious in the spring. On the contrary.