I have to ask this because I know fans are curious: Will you compete in the dunk contest again? I know you didn’t enter it this year because you didn’t want to be tired for the second half of the season as you fight for playoff positioning. But will we ever see you in the dunk contest again? Donovan Mitchell: Yes. For sure. I don’t know if it’s going to be next year, I don’t know if it’s going to be the year after that, but I am going to do it again.
Storyline: All-Star Contests
In 10th grade, you broke your wrist, which prevented you from playing AAU baseball in the summer. That’s when you shifted your focus full-time to basketball. I know your father is the Director of Player Relations for the New York Mets and I’ve heard you fully expected to be an MLB player when you were growing up. If you never broke your wrist, do you think you’d be playing major league baseball today? Donovan Mitchell: Yeah, I think so. I think my career path would’ve been baseball if I hadn’t broken my wrist. That really changed my entire life, to be completely honest with you. Not just from a sports standpoint, but from a work ethic standpoint too. That injury really showed me that the game – – could be taken away in a matter of seconds. That made me realize that you have to give this your all every chance you get, otherwise you’re going to be upset that you had more to give but the opportunity is no longer there . That changed my entire mindset and focus, and that’s when I started focusing on basketball. That injury definitely changed my entire life.
If I told 13-year-old Donovan that you’d one day be hanging out with Wade often and consider him a peer, what would your reaction have been? Also, what advice has he given you? Donovan Mitchell: I would’ve thought that you were completely lying to me, to be honest with you. (Laughs) It’s been great. With the advice he’s given me, a lot of the on-court advice has been more technical stuff like improving my footwork, slowing down, getting to the free-throw line, using fakes and things like that, which have definitely helped me throughout this year. It took me a while to fully grasp what he was talking about this year, but I think I’m starting to get a lot of it now and use what he told me. As far as off-court advice, he’s been so successful in life. I’m trying to understand how to be a businessman. I’m 22 years old, but I’m partnered with BodyArmor and adidas and all of these different brands, so you have to understand how to be a businessman on top of just being an athlete. He’s helped with that. I’ve just enjoyed the experiences we’ve had together. He and I connected a while back and we’ve met up several times, and we talk all the time.
Paul said fans that expected the point guard solution to head to Atlanta were not alone. “I got up at the draft,” Paul said of when the second pick was about to be announced. “They pretty much told me they were picking me. I found a house (in Gwinnett County) and everything.” Instead, Deron Williams went with the third pick to the Utah Jazz and Paul was snapped up by New Orleans with the fourth pick.
Josh Jackson: I heard about what happened to Russell Westbrook in Utah. I think it’s something that happens a little bit too much. There is some way we should try to control it and get a handle on it. Players are getting fined. Fans are still allowed to say whatever they want to say. They’re close to the court and able to say all these things. That shouldn’t happen. That shouldn’t be allowed. Anything that someone says of that nature is all bad and on the same level. Nothing is worse than the other. Of course, I’ve heard something racist on the college level and high school. Nothing I would want to share. I haven’t heard it in the NBA. Ways we can get a handle on it? I really don’t know. Maybe moving the court a little further from the fans. But that sucks for the fans. …