Luka Doncic and Mirjam Poterbin
Left: Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images Right: Instagram Mirjam Poterbin

"Mom's Decent": Luka Doncic & His Mom Have Stayed Close Through Public Legal Dispute

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 recent 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 that 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."

However, the two engaged in a heated legal battle over that put a short strain on their relationship

Luka Doncic's Mom Mirjam Poterbin

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What makes Mirjam and Luka's relationship so special is the independence she has given him since a young age. She encouraged 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, he had her unconditional support. Luka Doncic's mother eventually made the move to Spain in 2016.

As the professional basketball player ascends the hoops world, which is happening fast and includes three All-NBA First team appearances and EuroLeague MVP to go along with a championship 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 Western Conference's Dallas Mavericks for Trae Young. That draft 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 under former Dalals head coach Rick Carlisle. Of course she was a trending topic.

All that being said, the two engaged in a legal battle in the fall of 2022 over the trademark of Luka's name.

Their Intense Legal Battle

In September 2022, Luka revealed to NBA reporter Mark Stein that he had filed a petition with the United States Patent and Trademark Office to cancel the "LUKA DONCIC 7" trademark, which his mother owned and declined to give up.

"I have a lot to look forward to as I continue to grow as a player and a person and it's important to me to control my own brand and focus on giving back to my communities," Doncic told Stein in a statement.

The details of the case were kept under wraps for the most part, but it was reported Luka wanted to change the trademark to "LUKA DONCIC 77" specifically for his United States business ventures. However, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office declined the request because it might cause consumer confusion. And his mother, who has owned the trademark since 2018, refused to give it up after Luka wrote a formal letter asking her company to relinquish the trademark in 2021.

The situation built steam when the Mavericks star unveiled his new Jordan Brand logo that sports his initials (LD), jersey number (77), and S (to represent his home country of Slovenia) last season.

However, recent reports indicate the three-time NBA All-Star has dropped the case.

She's Still His Biggest Fan

With the waters settling, Mirjam is still Luka's biggest supporter and keeps busy when she's not attending one of his games. She is a former model (the same profession as her son's girlfriend Anamaria Goltes), 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 and Mav superstar goes next, from All-Star games to winning the NBA Rookie of the Year Award to deep playoff runs to buzzer beaters on ESPN to dishing assists to hugging Michael Jordan at All-Star Weekend, Mirjam will be there to support him.

"I want him to be happy and I know the basketball is tied to his happiness," Mirjam explained to WFAA in Dallas.

Doncic is already one of the best players in the league alongside names such as Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, Golden State's Steph Curry, Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo, Brooklyn's Kevin Durant and Boston's Jayson Tatum. The meteoric rise has helped skyrocket his net worth, too.

This article was originally published February 7, 2020.

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