Luka Doncic may have played for Real Madrid’s basketball team, but the Mavericks rookie joked he needed to work on his “soccer skills” after being ejected for kicking the ball into the crowd.
The Slovenian teenager suffered a night to forget in an otherwise fine debut NBA season on Saturday, scoring just eight points on 3-of-14 shooting before being ejected in the third quarter of Dallas’ 111-99 loss to the Pacers.
Doncic picked up one technical foul at the conclusion of the first half and was tossed from the game when he was awarded another technical for kicking the ball into the stands.
The 19-year-old, who played for Madrid in the EuroLeague prior to being drafted third overall in last year’s NBA draft, explained he had merely been trying to flick the ball up to himself and was unaware that his act would result in an ejection.
“I was just trying to play soccer,” Doncic told reporters.
“I didn’t try to kick the ball out of the stands.
“For sure, I didn’t know the rule if you go [and kick the ball] to the stands you are ejected.
“It’s a different rule in Europe. I didn’t know that was a rule.
“I wouldn’t have been ejected for that, for sure, in Europe. I was trying to juggle the ball. I’ve got to work on my soccer skills!”
Doncic said his poor outing had affected him but he vowed to learn from the incident.
“I wasn’t playing good, for sure,” he added. “It’s one of the [worst] games I’ve played, so yeah, I was frustrated before [the ejection].
“I know it was my fault. I learned a new thing today.
“Everybody does bad things in their life, so it’s not going to stop me the next game.
“That’s the good thing about the NBA. The next game is in two days, so just forget about it and move on.”