Mitchell Excited To Play For Family, Friends In NYC
NEW YORK, N.Y. – For Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, it’s a dream come true to be playing in New York City’s Madison Square Garden.
Mitchell grew up near the Big Apple in Elmsford, and has found memories of coming into the city to watch Knicks games at the most famous arena as kid. He remembers thinking about how cool it would be to be down near the players courtside.
Fast forward to 2019 and Mitchell is one of those players on the hardwood at the Garden. While his season’s trip to play in New York City isn’t the first of his professional career, the novelty hasn’t worn off yet for the second-year star guard.
“It’s crazy how it all comes full circle,” said Mitchell after practice on Wednesday.
Lessons From Mets
Growing up however, his original dream was not to be an NBA star, as he is now, but to play professional baseball. His father, Donovan Sr., has worked as the director of player relations for the New York Mets for years and often brought the younger Donovan around to see how the players worked.
Mitchell fell in love with watching the way that the Mets players went about their business. He remembers fondly watching superstars like Pedro Martinez throw a bullpen session or Carlos Beltran hit batting practice. The experience made a huge impact on how Mitchell conducts himself now as a professional athlete.
The biggest lesson he learned from watching the Mets was learning how to properly take care of himself.
“Well I think routine is the biggest thing. Allowing myself to get into a routine to continue to understand whether it’s eating late or not eating late. Understanding to get in at a certain time and continue to build that sense of consistency because I think that’s what really helps you get the best out of yourself and to continue to be that way,” said Mitchell.
Escaping The Swarm
With his personal care routine locked down, the 22-year old Mitchell will return to his hometown as hero. Although he plays his home games in Utah, Mitchell has plenty of fans and supporters in New York. Last year, a video surfaced of Mitchell leaving an appearance in New York City and having to run away from an adoring crowd to make it back to his car and to safety.
That was the moment he knew he had arrived as a true superstar.
“That’s when it really hit me like OK, this is different. This is my life. But not in a bad thing, but understanding who I was, I think it really hit me and showed me the amount of impact that I have on people and the platform that I have. It’s a blessing. I used to be that kid chasing the car, so it’s kind of cool to have that feeling. At the same time, that moment was pretty crazy for me,” said Mitchell.
The Jazz will take on the Knicks Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast on AT&T SportsNet.
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