DALLAS (KXAN) — Fans would give just about anything for something they’ve created, or even thought of, to become part of their favorite team’s routine. For one Texas musician who has been grinding away at his craft for more than 10 years, it actually happened.
Dustin Schumacher, who records music under the name Exel, has been a huge Dallas Mavericks since moving to the Lone Star State when he was a boy. When watching Mavericks highlights with his producer one night, working on Exel’s upcoming album, Mavs television broadcaster Mike Followill provided the inspiration no one knew they needed until that moment.
“This. Is. Luka. Magic!” Followill exclaimed after Luka Doncic buried a game-winning jumper to down the Portland Trail Blazers. Doncic, one of the NBA’s rising young stars, is Exel’s favorite player, so perhaps a song was already in the works from a mental standpoint. he just needed an extra nudge to put it on a track.
He and his producer Saucelord Rich took it from there.
“He turned to me and said, ‘that’s it,'” Exel said. “We had the song done in 15 minutes.”
The song, titled “Luka Magic,” started as just an ode to the Slovenian superstar. And now, it has almost 60,000 streams on Spotify since its release in February and has been a hit with basketball fans and others alike. Even Doncic fans in his native country have contacted Exel about the track, saying how much they relate to it and how much pride it gives them.
What he’s most proud of though, as any fan would be, is that his song has been played multiple times by the Mavs DJs at the American Airlines Center during warmups as fans file in the arena.
“It has really been an incredible journey,” Exel said. “People come up to me in the arena and watch parties and tell me they’ve heard the song and how much they like it. It plays when Luka is shooting around. It’s really just amazing. I have to give thanks to the DJs with the Mavericks — they are just incredible people.”
It’s humbling, he said, when people chat him up about the track. For being in the music business for as long as he has, and to have a song resonate with Mavs fans and beyond, is something that makes him think.
“I have to take pause, and you know, always reflect on that,” he said. “Bigger artists have reached out to do remixes, and it’s just a dream come true.”
Exel said he’s sat courtside at Mavs game as a VIP of the team, and Doncic even waved in his direction as his song was playing during a shootaround. Followill retweeted him and congratulated him on his song’s success.
“I got to see the inner workings of the organization, and they are just the kindest, most gentlest people there are,” he said. “That team is full of great stories from top to bottom.”
Had it not been for Mavs.com reporter Tamara Jolee, Exel’s song may not have had this level of exposure. Sorting through her email, which for any reporter can be a daunting task, and something just felt right to her.
“I just felt like this guy had extraordinary talent that was hidden,” Jolee said. “Then when I clicked the link and listened to the words, I knew this song was special.”
She heard it right when Exel released it, and that was so early in the NBA season and Doncic had been struggling to find his game. So she waited to write Exel’s story. When she decided to file the feature, Doncic’s play hit its stride and helped propel “Luka Magic” to global fame.
“There are some people who are just unique, and you can see what’s to come,” Jolee said. “I’ve received more messages and emails about this song from media outlets all over the world and it’s extraordinary to see. Exel will become a household name.”
The timing is nearly perfect with Doncic playing at a high level and the Mavs in the Western Conference Finals. As for the album Exel said he and Rich (a multi-platinum producer) have been working on, he said they are still going to put it together, but they’re letting the song — work its magic.
“We’ve got a few songs done, but we’re going to let the song organically do its thing,” Exel said. “We’re just so happy with how well the song is doing and how much traction it is getting.”
As any true fan does, Exel has unwavering confidence the Mavs will turn the conference finals around after a Game 1 loss to the Golden State Warriors.
“Mavs in 7,” he said.