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What’s been said about the Dallas Mavericks’ Luka Doncic and his return to play against Real Madrid?

One of the NBA’s best players will make his return to the arena where he made his name. As you can imagine, fans on either side of the divide can’t wait.

One of the NBA’s best players will make his return to the arena where he made his name. As you can imagine, fans on either side of the divide can’t wait.
Tom PenningtonGetty Images

While some may think it’s just an exhibition game, it goes without saying that it will be both a showcase of some of the top talent in the European game today, as well as a glance at how the Mavericks intend to take on the challenge of the coming campaign.

Mavericks’ Luka Doncic is heading ‘home’ to Madrid

On Tuesday night at 2:45 p.m. ET, the Dallas Mavericks will take on Real Madrid at the WiZink Center in Madrid, Spain. Of course, this is much more than the European champions hosting an NBA team in the build-up to both teams’ respective seasons. Indeed, this is about the return of one of Madrid’s greatest players and the current star of the Mavericks, Luke Doncic.

It’s now been five years since the Slovenian left Madrid to make his way in the NBA, which is to say it’s been five years since the fans of ‘Los Blancos’ have been without arguably the best player in the modern history of the club. Since his departure, Doncic has gone on to be named the NBA’s Rookie of the Year (2019), made four All-Star performances, and when all is said and done, is widely regarded as one of the best in the league today. This is after a career in Madrid which started at the tender age of 13, and would eventually see him being named the best player in Europe at just 19 years old. In total, Doncic made 216 appearances for Madrid across four seasons to the tune of 7 titles. On top of that, there was also the small matter of him being named EuroLeague and Final Four MVP - the youngest player ever to do so.

What’s been said about Luka Doncic’s ‘homecoming’

“It’s sure to be an amazing spectacle,” said Felipe Reyes, the Real Madrid legend and club ambassador. “Facing an NBA team is always special, but this time it will be even more so because we’ll get the chance to enjoy having a Real Madrid legend and star of the NBA back on our home turf, in Luka Doncic. He is proud to be associated with our club and glad to say he’s a Madridista wherever he goes. It’s sure to be an amazing spectacle and an emotional night for all the Madridistas and lovers of basketball.”

There was also the NBA’s Deputy Commissioner, Mark Tatum, who had similar things to say but from the perspective of one on the outside looking in. “We can’t wait to connect with fans in Spain and Europe. ...Taking the NBA experience live to our passionate international fans is an important part of our efforts every year to grow basketball and the NBA around the world. We’re excited about the possibility of the Mavericks playing against Real Madrid and we can’t wait to connect with the fans in Spain and Europe around this historic match-up.” Even the Mavericks as an organization couldn’t help but acknowledge the weight of the moment, with franchise CEO, Cynt Marshall, explaining “Our team is lucky enough to have one of the greatest international ambassadors for the NBA in Luka and we hope we can connect with Real Madrid and their fans.”

International Relations: Real Madrid’s history with NBA teams

Now, while the focus for NBA fans will undoubtedly be on the Mavericks and their talisman, it’s interesting to note that his former team has never been a pushover when they’ve met teams from across the pond.

Though they’ve lost more than they’ve won, one can definitely see that they aren’t to be taken lightly. The last time Madrid played against an NBA team was in 2016 when they beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 142-137. Below you can have a look at Madrid’s record against NBA opposition:

  • Real Madrid 96-111 Boston Celtics (Madrid 1988)
  • Real Madrid 115-145 Phoenix Suns (Munich 1993)
  • Real Madrid 104-103 Toronto Raptors (Madrid 2007)
  • Real Madrid 87-109 Utah Jazz (Madrid 2009)
  • Memphis Grizzlies 105-93 Real Madrid (Memphis 2012)
  • Toronto Raptors 102-95 Real Madrid (Toronto 2012)
  • Real Madrid 96-111 Boston Celtics (Madrid 2015)
  • Real Madrid 142-137 Oklahoma City Thunder (Madrid, 2016)