Luka Doncic’s Sunday night didn’t go quite as planned. The Dallas Mavericks’ superstar sophomore struggled against the ferocious Los Angeles Lakers’ defense, scoring 19 points on 5-for-17 shooting with seven assists in the Mavs’ 108-95 loss. If there was some good news, though, it’s that Doncic got a surprise from one of the best players to ever wear the purple and gold.
At one point during the game, Doncic was prepared to inbound the ball from the sideline. He turned around and saw Kobe Bryant, which led to him shaking hands with the future Hall of Fame inductee.
Kobe was heckling Luka so he turned around and dapped him up 😂 pic.twitter.com/TASYCSness
— ESPN (@espn) December 30, 2019
Lighthearted trash talk from a former player on the sideline isn’t a new one, but Bryant didn’t manage to surprise Doncic with his banter. According to Doncic, Bryant didn’t just jaw at him a little — he did this in Doncic’s native language, Slovenian.
Mavericks’ Luka Doncic on meeting w/ Lakers legend Kobe Bryant: “He was talking Slovenian. He was talking my language. I was really surprised.” pic.twitter.com/IE9sLtZ2TZ
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) December 30, 2019
Bryant is pretty good at speaking other languages — he speaks fluent Italian thanks to spending time in Italy as a kid and has shown off the ability to speak Spanish in the past — so being able to, at the very least, carry a conversation in Slovenian isn’t the most outlandish thought in the world. It stands to reason that Bryant just learned a phrase or two and planned to bust this out to mess with Doncic, but it is far more fun to imagine that he decided to become fluent in the language with the purpose of communicating with former teammate Sasha Vujacic in a way that no opponent could understand, so that’s what I am going with.