Illustrations: Planet Rick


There are times when Luka Dončić’s command of the game feels mystical. It’s as if he’s manipulating opposing players through telekinesis, bending the rules of time and space to conjure whatever his team needs. 40 points? 20 assists? 15 rebounds? A triple-double? How about a last-second, stepback 3-ball to steal a victory? Done and done. 

As a professional in Spanish leagues since the age of 13, Luka practiced sorcery well beyond his years. The kid from Slovenia snatched rebounds and crossed defenders over in transition, hit streaking teammates with dimes for layups and maneuvered through the paint with euro-steps and up-fakes. No one that young was supposed to have such an advanced basketball IQ, patience or poise. They called him El Niño Maravilla, the Wonder Boy. 

Luka’s blend of guile and skill makes anything possible on the hardwood. As the focal point of the Dallas offense, he turns defenses that operate on a string into dancing marionettes. His bag of tricks includes shifty changes of speed and direction, the ability to coax defenders into committing costly fouls and core strength that earns him tough buckets in the paint. He is a master of the pick-and-roll, using peripheral vision to find creases for lobs. In one new pass, he rises up, as if to take a jumper; instead, he flicks the ball backward to an open shooter. It is domination by sleight of hand.

By his third NBA season, Luka had won Rookie of the Year, been named to a pair of All-Star squads and honored with an All-NBA first-team selection. In 2020, the 6-foot-8 forward finished sixth in points per game, third in assists per game and led the league in triple-doubles — all while leading a Dallas team that set an all-time record for offensive rating into the playoffs. 

To celebrate this moment in Luka’s career, he and Jordan Brand are releasing “Cosmic Deception,” a new pack that features an Air Jordan XXXV, Jordan Max-200 and Jordan Slide. Artist Planet Rick created graphics that demonstrate Luka’s deceptive mastery and shared the following about these pieces:


The main idea was to express how Luka sees all of the possible plays before he goes in for the attack. I used a long-exposure approach to convey this. Luka, a ‘master of deception,’ is depicted in a camouflaged way, almost blending in with the environment. Like a chess master, he has an incredible overview of the court, which enables all of the tricks he pulls off so well.

I like that the product combines violet with lime green and a glow-in-the-dark effect. The texture is reminiscent of outer space and the aesthetic of the ‘90s, an era dear to my heart.


The “Cosmic Deception” Pack releases May 13 in Greater China, Europe, the Middle East and Africa from Jordan.com and select retailers. It releases May 20 in North America.

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AIR JORDAN XXXV LOW

'Cosmic Deception'

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