How Many Languages Can Luka Doncic Speak?

How Many Languages Can Luka Doncic Speak?
Video luka dončić languages slovenian

It goes without saying that Luka Doncic is incredibly talented. The Slovenian star first made a name for himself in Europe, and crossed the Atlantic to try his hand at NBA basketball in 2018. He promptly proved that he was more than capable of handling life in the Association, winning the 2019 Rookie of the Year crown. From there, his star has only gotten brighter.

The Dallas Maverick, however, isn’t just a capable basketball player; he’s also multi-lingual. And as anyone who’s ever taken a foreign language class can confirm, mastering a foreign tongue can be rather tricky.

With that in mind, let’s return to Luka Doncic and consider how many languages he can speak. Let’s just say his repertoire is almost as impressive as his on-court abilities.

Luka Doncic started out speaking Slovenian

Over the years, the NBA has become an increasingly global league. Luka Doncic is a fine example of that, as he hails from Slovenia, a central European country tucked between Italy, Croatia, Austria, and Hungary.

While other languages are spoken, including Italian and Hungarian, the country’s primary language is Slovenian (alternatively called Slovene). And since Doncic was born in Ljubljana, the nation’s capital, he unsurprisingly speaks the native tongue.

And while that linguistic ability probably doesn’t help in terms of on-court communication — there haven’t been many Slovenians to reach the NBA — it does serve at least one purpose. As noted in a 2023 ESPN post, Luka isn’t afraid of cursing in Slovenian, rather than English, to avoid a technical foul.

“Doncic also has another trick: He rarely curses at officials in English,” Tim MacMahon wrote. “It’s hard for a ref to justify calling a technical foul if they can’t understand a word.”

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Doncic learned Spanish during his time at Real Madrid

When most people hear the name Real Madrid, their mind jumps to soccer. The Spanish giants, however, also have a basketball program under their sporting umbrella. After leaving his hometown Union Olimpija behind, Luka Doncic traveled to the Spanish capital for the next step of his career.

He began playing with the Real Madrid youth team in 2012 and eventually moved up to the senior squad. Luka didn’t leave Spain until 2018 and, unsurprisingly, became rather comfortable communicating in Spanish during that time.

That skill has provided Doncic with some benefits, even after arriving in North America. His grasp of Spanish has made him popular in both Mexico and Texas — consider the reception that he and his public speaking when received when the Mavs traveled south of the border — and it has allowed him to communicate with some teammates.

In a 2019 post on the Mavericks’ official website, Kristaps Porzingis explained that he and Luka would speak both English and Spanish on the court. “Sometimes, when we don’t want somebody to find out what we’re saying, then it’s Spanish,” the Latvian explained.

Luka Doncic also has a good grasp of English

This one is the most obvious since the majority of NBA fans in North America are English-language speakers. Doncic, however, did have some growing pains while learning the language.

During his first summer with the Mavs, for example, he revealed that he didn’t know what the word “shower” meant. That might sound humorous, but it is worth remembering that Luka was speaking in his third language as a teenager; fully grasping one is tough enough.

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And while he was already in a good place in 2018, the Slovenian star’s English has only gotten stronger. Watching a single post-game interview will make that abundantly clear.

Luka Doncic can speak Serbian, bringing his count to 4 languages

While some references to Doncic state that he speaks three languages, the NBA star has a fourth in his arsenal: Serbian. Outlets like ESPN (in the aforementioned Tim MacMahon story) discuss Luka’s grasp of the language, and if that isn’t enough proof, you can watch the star speak it during a virtual media day session alongside English, Spanish, and Slovenia.

From a purely sporting perspective, Luka Doncic clearly possesses an incredible amount of sheer talent. That versatility and natural aptitude, it seems, also extend to learning languages.