Kevin Durant had NBA fans racing to their phones to call their moms after delivering his 2014 MVP speech. The speech — one of the most emotionally captivating in NBA memory — turned iconic when Durant focused on thanking his mother for all the sacrifices she made for he and his brother. “You the real MVP” became a cemented quote in pop culture that reminds us behind every great son is a great mother.
It’s no different for Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic.
Doncic was born to Mirjam Poterbin and Sasa Doncic in Ljubljana, Slovenia on February 28, 1999. When he was nine, Doncic’s parents divorced and his mother gained custody. It was around this time Luka started to show glimpses of the basketball prodigy he would soon become. His mother was incredibly supportive from the beginning.
Poterbin told EuroHoops:
“Honestly, I was never thinking about [his future in basketball] because, as his mom, what was important to me was to see him happy and his dreams come true. I also think that Luka was never thinking about how far he could go either. He was just happy that he was playing basketball and that was the most important thing.”
Luka Doncic’s Mom Mirjam Poterbin
What makes Mirjam and Luka’s relationship so special is the independence she gives him. She encourages him to chase his dreams and gives him the space to do so.
At 13, Luka moved to Madrid, Spain to play for the Real Madrid basketball club. He was barely a teenager in a new place where he didn’t know anyone and didn’t speak the language yet. Luka’s mom was rightfully apprehensive about the move to a foreign country. She tried to persuade Luka to stay and wait to make the move, but he insisted on going. The first flight back to Slovenia without her son was agonizing. Flight attendants comforted her because she wept so violently. Nevertheless, Luka had her unconditional support. Doncic’s mother eventually made the move to Spain in 2016.
As Luka ascends the basketball world, including his EuroLeague MVP and championship season back in 2018, Mirjam is by his side every step of the way. She accompanied him to the 2018 NBA Draft in New York City, where he was a first-round pick by the Atlanta Hawks before being traded to the Dallas Mavericks for Trae Young. That night made waves because of Andre Iguodala’s tweet.
She was also there at the 2019 NBA Awards when her then-19-year-old won Rookie of the Year.
Luka Doncic Wins NBA Rookie of the Year
Mirjam is more than just Luka Doncic’s mom. She is a former model, beauty salon owner, and an active social media member in her own right. The native Slovenian was also a hurdler and dancer. Luka had to get his nimbleness and balance from somewhere.
Wherever the rising NBA player goes next, from All-Star games to deep playoff runs, Mirjam will be there to support him. She is a real MVP after all.
This article was originally published February 7, 2020.