Luka Doncic isn’t messing around.
The 22-year-old superstar shined in his Olympics debut on Monday, scoring 48 points to lead Slovenia to a 118-100 blowout victory over Argentina. He added 11 rebounds and 5 assists.
“For me, I said this two years ago: He is the best player in the world, including the NBA,” Argentina coach Sergio Hernandez said after the game. “And if there was any doubt in my mind, there is no doubt anymore. He is the best player in the world.
“We tried everything that we would have tried against a normal player, but he’s not a normal player.”
With 48 points, Doncic finished just seven points shy of the Olympics’ men’s basketball scoring record, set by Brazil’s Oscar Schmidt in 1988.
“I don’t care about records,” Doncic said. “We got a win and that’s what we came here for.”
It’s not a coincidence that Slovenia’s rise in the international basketball landscape coincides with Doncic’s own emergence. Before qualifying for the Tokyo Games earlier in July, the Slovenian men’s basketball team had never made the Olympics. Now, with Doncic leading the way, Slovenia is a bona fide medal contender, especially with Team USA looking like a shell of its usual dominant self.