Charles Barkley is a big fan of Luka Doncic and believes jerseys of the man he described as a “bad white boy” will soon be a popular sight in playgrounds across the country.
The Slovenian has taken the NBA by storm in his rookie season and Barkley did not hesitate in comparing him to the likes of Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki and Manu Ginobili.
“Let me tell you something, that boy Doncic, he’s the real deal,” the 11-time NBA All-Star said on Thursday night, as per Brad Townsend of SportsDay. “As we used to say in my day, that’s a bad white boy. I mean, he’s not there yet, but we’re getting really close to little black kids in the ‘hood wearing his jersey.
“Real close. It used to be Larry Bird, Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki, [Manu] Ginobili, that was it. Doncic, if he keeps playing like this, we’re going to see his number in the ‘hood.”
Doncic has made a great impression in the league since he was selected with the number three overall pick of the 2018 draft. In his first season in the NBA, the 19-year-old is averaging 20.7 points, 7.2 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game while shooting 43 percent from the field.
At the end of last month, the Slovenian became the first teenager in NBA history to record multiple triple-doubles. He was also the first teenager to score a 30-point triple-double as he finished with a career-high 35 points, 10 assists and 12 rebounds in a 123-110 loss at home to the Toronto Raptors.
LeBron James had held the record for youngest player to ever record a 30-point triple-double in the NBA since April 2005 when, at 20 years and 100 days of age, he achieved the feat against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Barkley, who was speaking during a pre-All-Star game event in Charlotte alongside fellow TNT Inside the NBA analysts Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal, was also full of praise for the Dallas Mavericks.
Having drafted Doncic in the summer, the Mavericks last month acquired Kristaps Porzingis, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Courtney Lee from the New York Knicks.
While the trade allowed New York to free up enough salary cap to pursue supermax contracts in the summer, Barkley believes the Mavericks could end up as the real winners in the deal.
“If they could get one of those free agents, they could change the balance of power really quick, especially if Porzingis comes back healthy,” the fifth overall pick of the 1984 draft said.
The Mavericks enter the All-Star break on the back of a two-game losing streak, which saw them slip to 26-31 for the season. Dallas is 12th in the Western Conference standings, five games away from the final playoff berth, which is currently held by the Los Angeles Clippers.
Luka Doncic, Dallas Mavericks dribbles the ball against the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on January 19, 2019 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Andy Lyons/Getty Images
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