Luka Doncic and the NBA’s brightest stars face “undue pressure” to create plays worthy of the highlight reel due to fans’ expectations on their social media feeds, according to Mavs head coach Rick Carlisle.
“I like being an entertainer,” says Doncic, who more or less single-handedly outplayed the hapless Golden State Warriors Wednesday night.
Carlisle has little doubt the NBA’s reigning Rookie of the Year is about anything other winning, and concedes that a special talent like Luka deserves a bit more freedom on the court.
“Guys like Doncic, [Larry] Bird, Jason Kidd, Magic Johnson — sometimes they get bored and they want to get into a creative state and do some things to kind of break up the monotony,” Carlisle said. “But the important thing is to understand that there’s a time and place for everything. The most important thing is not to compromise your opportunity to win. I give him the trust to figure those things out.”
Off the top of his head, Carlisle can tell you how many followers Doncic has on Instagram. It’s three million and counting. And it’s a concern for Carlisle.
“Social media has created really an undue pressure on guys like Luka to generate highlights,” Carlisle said. “[Fans] want to be seeing stuff every day on their phones.”
Even the threat of Doncic’s passing frequently leads to fun. His pass fakes have caused several defenders to look like fools, turning their heads or even their whole bodies as he either lays the ball in or dishes to another teammate.
“That’s what I do. I like to enjoy the game,” Doncic said. “I like to be an entertainer. Sometimes it’s good to be, sometimes it’s too much. I just like to enjoy playing basketball.”