John Minchillo/Associated Press
Dallas Mavericks point guard Luka Doncic is often compared to Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird, with his head coach (and ex-Bird teammate) Rick Carlisle making remarks connecting the two on multiple occasions.
ESPN’s Rachel Nichols asked Doncic about the comparison to Bird, wondering if he had watched the Hall of Famer’s film in the past and if he agreed with the assessment.
Doncic acknowledged that he has watched a lot of Bird’s film but did not agree with the comparison as of now.
“You can’t compare me to Larry Bird,” said Doncic, who noted that he has “more and more games to go” and a “long time” ahead of him in his career.
“I just want to keep hooping, having fun out there playing basketball,” Doncic added.
Bird is one of the game’s all-time greats, and as Carlisle noted, Doncic’s ability to make everyone on the floor better is one of the things that makes those two special.
Carlisle isn’t the only ex-Bird teammate to align Doncic with the Celtic great. Former Celtic Cedric Maxwell told the New York Times‘ Marc Stein that Doncic was “Larry Bird reincarnated.”
It’s lofty praise for a player who just turned 22, but Doncic has been sensational in his two-plus years in the NBA. He entered Saturday averaging 28.7 points, 9.1 rebounds and 8.9 assists per game over his past two seasons. Bird stuffed the stat sheet as well, averaging 24.3 points, 10.0 rebounds and 6.3 assists for his career.
For now, Doncic is focused on continuing the Mavs’ upward swing after a 9-14 start to the year. The Mavs are 7-2 since then to move to 16-16 and will look to go over .500 with a road win over the Orlando Magic on Monday.