Shooting hoops in Slovenia: Here’s how a pickup game on ‘Luka’s court’ went


WFAA’s Jason Wheeler challenged a local to a game of one-on-one at the community court where Luka Doncic played as a young boy.

LJUBLJANA, Slovenia — We traveled more than 5,500 miles to Ljubljana, the stunning mountain-ringed, heavily forested (and temperate in late May!) hometown of Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic.

This capital city is in the middle of Slovenia, a country with more than two million people. So the whole country has about one-fourth the population of Dallas-Fort Worth! 

We came here looking for Luka, and have found his presence in many places, including a special one hidden in a city park.

We arrived at the community court where Luka played as a young boy. In Sept. 2021, he came back as a man, to help refurbish it for the next generation. Since the kids are still in school here through June, we had it all to ourselves. Until (unfortunately) a guy named Jan showed up. He told us he comes here a lot.

“Probably five times a week,” he said.

Like everyone else we’ve encountered here, he’s crazy about Luka Doncic and loves this year’s Mavs team. Just as many North Texans might not be very familiar with Slovenia, Jan doesn’t know much of anything about Dallas, except for this nugget: 

“They don’t have a state income tax or something like that.”

Wow. That seemed impressive. Then he explained that he only knew it because being a Doncic fan, he understood the Dallas superstar doesn’t have to pay state income taxes on his hefty earnings from the Mavs. 

Impressive, nonetheless.

Since there was no one else around, I challenged him to a game of one-on-one. The first to three points wins.

And that’s when my meeting with Jan came to that unfortunate end. It was an embarrassing smackdown 3-0 right there on Luka’s court and with Luka (practically) watching. I wore a shirt with his face on the front of it. Clearly, that Luka Magic does not rub off.

Disclaimer: I hadn’t touched a basketball in more than a year. Also, I think I was fouled several times. Yes, I am complaining about how I was treated by the defense. Wait, maybe Luke is rubbing off on me, after all.