If you don’t believe in Donovan Mitchell and Cleveland’s success after his trade from Utah, that’s fine. Moreover, you are in good company. After all, if he does succeed, you can always say: “Well, his own mother didn’t believe in Don, so it’s not shameful for me to make a mistake.”
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Mitchell’s mother did not believe in her son
“I never believed that Donovan would play at the highest level. Here’s what I mean: what were the actual chances? I understand that mothers should not talk like that, but I only thought about his education. When he started playing in the amateur league, I said: “Well, honey, I will support you one hundred percent. Only you need to focus on your studies.” I thought a basketball scholarship would definitely help. Could I have imagined that he would end up in the NBA? No, no, no,” Nicole Mitchell confessed.
This position is understandable, especially considering that Mitchell’s mother herself worked as a teacher and saw a huge number of examples when young guys bet on sports and subsequently achieved nothing. But apart from the sincere doubts she shared with her son, Nicole’s disbelief was expressed in huge numbers on the speedometer of an old Toyota Camry, in which she drove her son to countless amateur tournaments. And these mileage figures were much more eloquent than her words. Therefore, Mitchell is infinitely grateful to his mother, who – in his own words – did not care about basketball.
It was this combination of Nicole’s cautious optimism and her willingness to sacrifice a lot for the sake of her son’s passion that made Donovan who he is, with all its advantages and disadvantages.
Donovan was lazy and thought about quitting basketball
When Mitchell moved into the ninth grade, for the first time, he was away from his mother and could not cope with freedom.
Mitchell, for a long time, could not choose a priority sport for himself. Since his father had tied his life to baseball since childhood, Don was surrounded by baseball trainers, strings of bats, tin baskets with scatterings of laced balls, and other romanticism of the most American of all sports. He loved baseball, and on the wall in his room, along with a poster of Michael Jordan, there were images of David Wright and Scott Kazmir.
Apparently, Donovan tried too long and not too clearly to determine life priorities, so life determined them for him. During one of the baseball games, Donovan collided with another player and broke his wrist. Because of this, he spent a whole year away from sports.
If you don’t go to the NBA, the NBA goes to you
You can talk about what happened as another divine providence or look for hidden meanings hinting that Mitchell often needed someone’s support and help. But, in fact, it is quite a common practice when NBA stars come to large universities where they once studied. Rajon Rondo went to school in Kentucky but was born in Louisville, so during the off-season, he often drove to the university to kick the ball with friends. And in order not to attract unnecessary attention, he organized matches at night. It was on one of these that Mitchell wandered. The next day, he latched on to Larry O’Bannon, a former Cardinals player who worked out in the gym. Donovan promised him to go to distant lands if he introduced him to the group chat of the participants in Rondo’s night matches. O’Bannon did not really understand what it was about, but impressed by the guy’s persistence, he agreed.
It’s easy to doubt Mitchell; it’s even easier not to expect anything outstanding. Another thing is that he himself has already gotten used to such an attitude for a long time and has proved that he can surprise even those people who did not believe in him from a very young age.