The Business Behind Luka Doncic’s NBA Success

Luka Doncic's NBA Success
Luka Doncic (Credit: Getty Images)

Only 25 years old but already established as an NBA star. It’s one of the most popular jerseys in the league and a historic contract is in sight. Luka Doncic aspires these days for his first ring with the Dallas Mavericks, but the shadow of his enormous figure is also explained with numbers and many zeros.

On April 19, the NBA revealed the list of the best-selling jerseys in this 2023-2024 season of the best basketball league on the planet.

Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors) appeared in first place and the podium was completed by LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers) and Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics).

But one of the most interesting aspects of that relationship came from fourth to sixth place with three non-American players in that order: the French prodigy Victor Wembanyama (San Antonio Spurs), the Greek Giannis Anteokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks) and the Slovenian Luka Doncic ( Dallas Mavericks).

In an NBA that is increasingly international and global – just look at Serbian Nikola Jokic’s three MVPs in the last four years – Doncic has become a fundamental attraction and the Balkan has responded with recitals on the court and with an increasingly important presence outside of it.

With 9.2 million followers on Instagram and 1.9 million on X, the former Real Madrid player, armed with his unmistakable smile and fierce competitiveness, is one of the talents called to replace the generation of LeBron, Curry, and Kevin Durant (Phoenix Suns).

Along with Doncic (25 years old), others appear such as Tatum (26), his rival in these Finals, Anthony Edwards (22, Minnesota Timberwolves), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (25, Oklahoma City Thunder), or the aforementioned Wembanyama (20).

But the Mavericks’ lighthouse has the option of distancing himself from his promotion colleagues with a ring that would add to an already absolutely amazing record for his youth: Eurobasket champion with his national team, winner of the Euroleague with Real Madrid, and MVP of the competition and the Final Four, five times All-Star and five times chosen in the best fifth in the league in just six years in the NBA, etc.

The finances behind the magic

Nicknamed ‘Luka Magic’ in a nod to ‘Magic Johnson’, Doncic is the natural heir in Dallas of the German Dirk Nowitzki, who in 2011 signed the only title in the history of the Texan franchise.

The Mavericks gave Doncic the keys to the car from the get-go and in 2021 they agreed to a five-year, $207 million renewal that was the largest extension for a rookie in NBA history.

Given his exceptional performance – top scorer in the NBA this year and third in the MVP voting – it is clear that Dallas’ investment makes a lot of sense but it is also evident that he will have to reopen his wallet when it is time to renew him again.

Thus, the ESPN network reported a couple of weeks ago that the point guard is already eligible for a huge extension after 2025 of five years and $346.3 million dollars, which would mean the largest contract ever signed in the NBA.

In Forbes’ annual list, Doncic appeared in 34th place among the highest-paid athletes in the world with $55.1 million in 2024 (the magazine’s methodology does not collect data corresponding to a calendar year but rather from May 1, 2023).

In this way, for his payroll he received about $40.1 million, an immense amount but which, according to ESPN data, only placed him as the sixteenth highest-paid player this season in the NBA (Curry led that classification with 51.9 million )

With all this, ‘only’ $15 of those $55.1 million reached the Slovenian’s accounts through sponsorships and advertising, which seems to leave a large territory still to be exploited for a Doncic who already has his own line of sneakers with Jordan /Nike.

Forbes also included in its report on Doncic and his other sponsors such as Activision, Hasbro, and Panini.

However, if Doncic also wants to follow in LeBron’s footsteps outside the stadium – one of his essential references in basketball – he will have to boost his income outside of sports, something that “King James” has done wonderfully throughout his career. his career.

Thus, in 2024 LeBron had a total income of $128.2 million (fourth highest-paid athlete in the world, according to Forbes) but only $48.2 of them came as a salary from the Lakers compared to the $80 million he obtained from sponsorships and other businesses.

Read More: Kylian Mbappe Has Signed a 5-Year Contract with Real Madrid

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