SPORTS

Donovan Mitchell and mom talk about growing up Spida

Jun 26, 2019, 12:33 PM | Updated: 12:35 pm
donovan mitchell spida dunk...
Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz (C) accepts the trophy for the 2018 Verizon Slam Dunk Contest at Staples Center on February 17, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. The first time he dunked, he'd had to explain to his mom (left) what a dunk was. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY — Spida was so “extra,” his mom had to put him on a leash as a small child.

In a new piece for The Players’ Tribune, Donovan Mitchell describes having lots of extra energy all the time. His mom, who served as editor for the piece, vouched for him.

I was running around everywhere. But like, to no fixed destination. For no real purpose. Just running, man. There’s no photographic evidence of this, thank God, and I don’t even know if this is legal anymore, but when I was three or four years old, I swear to you that my mother used to put me on one of those kiddie leashes whenever we’d go anywhere.

Editor’s note: It was not a leash! It was a harness.

A harness. O.K. a harness.

Mitchell wrote that there was a purpose to all that running he did as a child. In his imagination, he was playing ball.

The real story is that I was obsessed with sports. Basketball and baseball were the main ones. When my friends weren’t around, I used to play imaginary five-on-five in my head. We had this archway between our living room and dining room, and I’d jump up and slap it. That was my hoop. That’s how I dunked. Everything was in my head — the pick-and-rolls, the inbounds passes, the crowd. I’d be talking imaginary trash and everything.

Editor’s note: Oh my gosh, I used to hear him slapping the arch all day. When I’d be cleaning the house, I was too short to reach up there with the rag. So when we moved out, the handprints were still up there.

Keeping Spida on track

donovan mitchell spida draft

Donovan Mitchell walks on stage with NBA commissioner Adam Silver after being drafted 13th overall by the Denver Nuggets, then traded to the Utah Jazz, during the first round of the 2017 NBA Draft at Barclays Center on June 22, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

Mitchell describes his mom, Nicole, as being skeptical that the NBA was a viable career path for her basketball-playing son. In one of her editorial interjections, she writes that she believed the odds were against her son making a career out of sports. She hoped, she wrote, that he could get a college scholarship to play ball — but encouraged him to focus on his studies for whatever would happen after college.

That emphasis on education was not optional, Nicole Mitchell said. Her son agreed. As an eighth-grader, he recalled failing to memorize a speech for a public speaking class. When his mom discovered he hadn’t done the work, she canceled all sports for the weekend and made him memorize the speech.

He credits his mom for helping him recognize the importance of his grades and education.

donovan mitchell spida dunk

Donovan Mitchell competes in the 2018 Verizon Slam Dunk Contest at Staples Center on February 17, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

“Any kids reading this who are dreaming about playing college ball: You think those freshman and sophomore grades don’t matter? They matter. I almost messed up my whole future because I didn’t take those years seriously,” he wrote.

A dream realized

He got his head back into the figurative game of school and earned himself a scholarship to the University of Louisville, then eventually, to the NBA draft. Denver picked him up, then traded him to Utah (a pre-arranged deal), which Mitchell describes as a much better fit for him.

“I absolutely fell in love with [Salt Lake City] during my workout with [the Jazz],” Mitchell said.

Mitchell writes that all along, he dreamed of one day having enough money to buy his mom a house next to all the rich kids’ homes, when he was the poor kid attending a private school. That’s happened. And Nicole Mitchell has achieved a dream of her own – becoming a teacher and working with preschoolers.

“And man … I really pray to God that they’re not as extra as I was,” her son concluded.

Read Spida’s full article in The Players’ Tribune here: https://www.theplayerstribune.com/en-us/articles/donovan-mitchell-the-dream

Today’s Top Stories

Sports

Salt Lake County is working to make sure its golf courses don't use as much water in the drought....
Martha Harris

Salt Lake County says it has decreased water-use on its golf courses

Salt Lake County says it has back water usage on its golf courses. The county says it has done by changing how they water.
3 days ago
Utah Falconz team members cheer in celebration...
Mark Jackson

Women’s football team Utah Falconz heads to national championship

Utah's semi-pro tackle women's football team, the Utah Falconz, will head to Texas on June 26 to face off against the Texas Elite Spartans.
19 days ago
boys soccer Utah injuries...
Becky Bruce

High school boys’ soccer put on probation for the high number of ejections

SALT LAKE CITY — The growing number of ejections in high school boys’ soccer prompted the Utah High School Activities Association (UHSAA) to issue a yellow card, of sorts, for the sport. In soccer, a player or coach is ejected when they receive a red card. In such situations, a substitute for the disqualified player […]
21 days ago
FILE - United States gymnasts from left, Simone Biles, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman and Maggie Nich...
ED WHITE Associated Press

Simone Biles, other women seek $1B-plus from FBI over Nassar

The approximately 90 claimants who said they were sexually assaulted include Biles, Aly Raisman and McKayla Maroney, all Olympic gold medalists.
26 days ago
Figure skate age Olympics...
Associated Press

Figure skating minimum age rises to 17 before 2026 Olympics

The age limit will be phased in with 16-year-olds allowed to compete in the 2023-24 season. It will then rise to 17 for the season before the Olympics.
27 days ago
utah jazz coach...
TIM REYNOLDS AP Basketball Writer

Quin Snyder ends his tenure as Utah Jazz coach after 8 seasons

Snyder released a statement through the team, part of it simply saying "it is time." Snyder went 372-264 with the Jazz.
28 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
Donovan Mitchell and mom talk about growing up Spida