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A Field Guide To Luka Doncic’s Many Busted Sports-Watching Setups

Luka Doncic does kind of a weird follow-through as he watches a shot against the Golden State Warriors in the first half at American Airlines Center on March 13, 2024 in Dallas, Texas.
Tim Heitman/Getty Images

As aphorisms go, “Never meet your heroes” seems like a pretty smart and straightforward one. The public figure you admire because of how well he does his job might be a bore, a cad, or just unsettling in person. The challenge is to remember the spirit of that saying once you’ve spent time following a favorite athlete across social platforms. Once you’ve learned something about them that is utterly bewildering—not even as disqualifying as Michael Porter having a podcast, but just weird—you’re out of luck. There is nothing to do but navigate your new reality.

I had no expectations when following Luka Doncic, the often-flushed superstar guard of the Dallas Mavericks, on Instagram Stories. I figured I'd see photos of him on the court and at practice, maybe videos of cool-ass shots. After all, Doncic is so good at basketball; if all he shared on Instagram was basketball stuff, it would be worth it.

That material is pretty well represented, along with charming updates from his daily life: Luka gets a haircut. Luka posts his baby. Luka gets a shitty (in a fun way) little boat. However, there's another type of post from the Pravi MVP that I no longer can ignore: the environments in which Luka watches sports. I would now like to share some of these fucked-up setups.

Luka Watches Basketball In His Living Room
Luka Doncic's living room sports-watching setup, a TV hung directly over a little gas fireplace with a big wood coffee table in the shot.
Image via Instagram.

This is pretty normal, right? Previous encounters in the space confirm the presence of robust speakers. There are no floor-standing speakers in view, but there could still be a handsome pair of Marten Coltrane Supreme 2s somewhere out of frame. The man is a multi-millionaire, after all. I was prepared to declare this a perfectly fine way of watching sports until my friend David pointed out that it’s weird to have a TV above a fireplace. I’m a naif about these matters, but this Reddit thread confirms it’s generally looked down upon by people with opinions on that kind of thing who are also on Reddit, primarily for compelling the spectator to stare up. One comment from that thread reads, “I HATE it. It's uncomfortable to watch and ugly. My husband loves it.” Haunting!

The only real benefit, again pointed out by David, of this setup is that it would be convenient for when your preferred team loses and you are seized by the urge to set your TV on fire. In this case, the TV’s size in relation to the fireplace would make this task onerous. Anyway, this is the most normal setup that you will see from here until the end of this.

Luka Watches A Player Interview At The Mavericks' Facility
Another fucked-up Luka sports-watching rig, this time a screen seemingly hung on another screen in the Mavs' practice facility.
Image via Instagram

Already with this second example, we are deep in the weeds. Merely explaining what I am looking at presents as an exercise in futility, akin to determining a single vanishing point in the Arnolfini Portrait. Perhaps Luka, like Jan van Eyck or Leonardo da Vinci, is creating his pictures with the assistance of a perspective machine.

But let’s try our best. That is definitely a TV; I have no doubt about that. What it is attached to is less obvious; it is sort of a wall and sort of not. On the first screen, Real Madrid point guard and Luka's former teammate Facundo Campazzo is talking to a reporter; I like to think that "Vamooos" is Luka encouraging Campazzo to keep doing a good job in that interview. More interesting to me is that second screen, which says “NOAH” and appears to be related in some way to science. My hope was that there is an ongoing effort to turning all of the Dallas Mavericks into Na’vi; the actual answer is more boring.

One thing is certain: This is not a good way of watching sports. The display is obviously hampered by the awful glare generated by something like seven different light fixtures. If Luka were lucky, one of these would be the headlights from a flying saucer, looking to abduct him, so that he could watch TV on their ship. Anyway: Vamooos.

Luka Watches Soccer In A Hotel Conference Room
Unbelievably cursed setup here, a flat-screen TV on a kind of rolling stand thing sitting in a depressing paneled hotel conference space. There's a napkin with silverware rolled up in it in the shot.
Image via Instagram

“There are some things money can’t buy” is another aphorism that’s easy to misinterpret or ignore. I've always assumed that it meant there were precious aspects of a person's life that simply can’t be controlled or tainted by wealth: The love of your family, the kindness of a stranger, the care of your community.

This photo has forced me to expand my imagination about other things that money can't buy. The list should include “the ability of a professional athlete, with the command of both personal wealth and the privileges provided by his organization, to watch sports while on the road with a setup any more sophisticated or ergonomically sound than a group of eighth-graders on a field trip, sneaking into a conference room to watch My Hero Academia.” Very responsible to have some rolled silverware around in case a salad arrives unexpectedly.

Luka Watches Soccer In An Unknown Room
Luka's set-up for a soccer game: another TV on a rolling stands, a second screen with nothing on it, a collection of condiments, and also an ipad possibly playing a different game. More rolled silverware, too.
Image via Instagram

We're off the map now. There's a room with pastel blue walls, and Luka is at a table. There is more rolled silverware in the shot, but that’s pretty much it. I appreciate that the shades are somewhat drawn, allowing for less glare on any screens. I actively do not care for the fact that he's simultaneously watching another match, or possibly a different feed of the same match, on a tablet.

This is all too chaotic, and that’s before we get into all those distressingly prominent condiments accompanied by a big bottle of hand sanitizer. While I appreciate Luka’s enthusiasm for La Liga, I cannot condone the way in which he watches it. This is the image that made me wonder if, setting aside whatever else Luka Doncic accomplishes in his career, this man will ever watch sports in a normal way.

Luka Watches Basketball From A Laptop On A Stool
Luka watching a EuroLeague basketball game on a smudgy laptop that's just sitting on a stool in what looks like a training room.
Image via Instagram

Maybe once he wins a championship.

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