UTAH JAZZ

Donovan Mitchell And Georges Niang Podcast About Coronavirus, Drums, And A New Shoe Model

Apr 2, 2020, 10:12 PM | Updated: Apr 3, 2020, 9:04 am
Donovan Mitchell and Georges Niang...
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 22: Donovan Mitchell #45 and Georges Niang #31 of the Utah Jazz celebrate on the bench during their game against the Golden State Warriors at Chase Center on January 22, 2020 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – In the second episode of the Drive And Dish podcast hosted by Georges Niang, the Utah Jazz forward was joined by teammates Donovan Mitchell, fresh out of quarantine after testing positive for the new coronavirus. The pair discussed what the experience was like being diagnosed with the virus, what he missed most during quarantine, and how he’s feeling now.

The teammates moved on to discuss Mitchell’s hobbies when he’s not playing basketball, including a surprising musical talent, and his affinity for binge-watching one popular American comedy.

The conversation ends with Mitchell and Niang discussing the sacrifices his mother Nicole made for him and his sister Jordan, rumors of a new shoe model from Adidas, and the Jazz guard’s superstitions as a basketball player.

Being Diagnosed With COVID-19

Appropriately, the podcast begins with Niang and Mitchell reliving the evening they were pulled off the floor in Oklahoma City before facing the Thunder after teammate Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. Initially, the virus wasn’t on Mitchell’s mind when the game was canceled.

“I wasn’t even thinking about virus,” Mitchell said, “I was thinking something crazy was about to happen. Kind of like the FBI ran onto the floor, that’s what it felt like. Then obviously we found out that Rudy got it and we went back to the locker room and we all sat there. the moment we had it felt like we all just got silent.”

Niang relayed his thoughts on reentering the locker room while the entire team was tested for the virus, a six-hour process that felt like a full day. Despite the uncomfortable setting, the usually jovial now reflects fondly on the evening.

“We were there for what, six hours? So we were there for a while,” Mitchell remembered, “Eventually it was like, you know what let’s enjoy this time being around each other. We really got to know one another too. It was a blessing in disguise.”

However, Mitchell said the fond memories quickly changed the next morning when he received his test results.

“Fast forward to the next to when I found out I had it,” he said, “that’s when it really hit, and that’s when you get angry, you get sad, you get confused because you don’t know, yeah I had it, but I felt fine.”

Despite the Jazz guard’s attempts to distance himself from the situation, the speed in which the news spread was overwhelming.

“It just goes everywhere like boom, in an hour it’s like everywhere and everybody is hitting me up,” Mitchell recalled from the morning, ” I am laying in the hotel and I see, I tried to turn on Spongebob even that is interrupted by commercial breaks and you’re everywhere. So that was one of the craziest things that hits you.”

Perhaps most terrifying Mitchell said that was even though he had tested positive, he had no other indication that he had contracted the virus.

“Obviously Rudy had symptoms, I believe Christian Wood had symptoms,” Mitchell said of fellow NBA players who have tested positive, “I’m not sure about [Marcus] Smart, but KD didn’t have symptoms, it’s pretty crazy to go through that when you like you said, I was ready to play against Oklahoma City that night.”

Life in Quarantine

After discussing the 24-hour fallout from the time the game was canceled to the time Mitchell had tested positive and flew home Niang asked Mitchell about the realities of living in quarantine.

“You kind of miss everything from like, figuring out how to get out of a three-game skid,” The Jazz All-Star said, “The mental process to try to get through that. You miss those. We went through it when we got back from All-Star break. The win in Detroit was huge, the win in Boston. Those games, I’ve been watching a lot fo those games, I watched the Houston game, you miss moments, the everyday stuff, just being able to get in and drive your car. I haven’t been in my car for two and a half weeks.”

In order to pass time, Mitchell has turned to video games to move the clock but revealed he has another lesser-known skill from his childhood.

“I’ve been playing the drums since the fourth grade,” Mitchell said, mentioning Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker as one of his favorite drummers, “I’ve been playing them since the fourth grade, that and the saxophone but I can’t play that anymore.”

Also popular among his age group, Mitchell says he’s spent time binge-watching The Office.

“Big into The Office,” Mitchell admitted, “I don’t know if that’s really a hobby but big into The Office.”

Donovan Mitchell the Family Man

As Jazz fans have gotten to know Mitchell in his three seasons with the team, they’ve also learned that his relationship with both his mother and sister has a major influence in his life. Niang asked his teammate where that passion came from.

“The biggest thing is like yeah I went to private school growing up, I was fortunate to do that, but the whole reason I was able to do that was because my mom was sacrificing her job. She didn’t necessarily take her career — she had a career going this way that she wanted to take. Then me and Jordan were born and she decided to take it this way and make it better for us and sacrifice,” Mitchell said.

“Thats really where the love comes from. As a kid, you don’t really appreciate it until you give back and youre like whoa, even up until high school you don’t really understand, Then I got drafted, and I was like wow, my mom really did all this for me to get to this point.”

New Shoes?

After releasing his first signature shoe in July of 2019, NBA fans have anxiously awaited a sequel from Mitchell and Adidas. Though Mitchell wouldn’t offer any details, he hinted that those fans may have good news on the horizon.

“I won’t confirm or deny that there’s another shoe,” Mitchell shared, “But things are looking pretty good, let’s just leave it at that.”

Gameday Superstitions 

Finally, though the games have been sidelined indefinitely, Niang pressed Mitchell on his gameday superstitions, including his egregious use of bubble gum which the Jazz guard was founded during his time as a baseball player. Mitchell confirms there was more to his routine than simply chewing gum going back to his childhood.

“Before I left the house at our apartment complex, Mitchell recalled, “I would be blasting the same 10 songs from beginning to end and I had to listen to those songs before I left for the game.”

Though the AAU circuit may be where Mitchell’s superstitions began, he didn’t leave them in his past after making the NBA. Mitchell described his modern-day routine to Niang.

“Listen to the same 10 songs, shower, do all that,” Mitchell said, “Obviously have to get the nap in before all that. Get there, have time to sit and just relax and enjoy just being in the locker room, talk, then I’d go ahead and watch my film with Johnny [Bryant].”

While Mitchell’s routine will have to wait indefinitely, Jazz fans should be encouraged by the new routine from Niang of recording podcasts. Having released two episodes in the last three days, fans should have plenty of access to their favorite players as the game action remains sidelined.

Coronavirus Resources

How Do I Prevent It?

The CDC has some simple recommendations, most of which are the same for preventing other respiratory illnesses or the flu:

  • Avoid close contact with people who may be sick
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

The CDC does not recommend wearing a face mask respirator to protect yourself from coronavirus unless a healthcare professional recommends it.

How To Get Help

If you’re worried you may have COVID-19, you can contact the Utah Coronavirus Information Line at 1-800-456-7707 to speak to trained healthcare professionals. You can also use telehealth services through your healthcare providers.

Additional Resources

If you see evidence of PRICE GOUGING, the Utah Attorney General’s Office wants you to report it. Common items in question include toilet paper, water, hand sanitizer, certain household cleaners, and even cold medicine and baby formula. Authorities are asking anyone who sees price gouging to report it to the Utah Division of Consumer Protection at 801-530-6601 or 800-721-7233. The division can also be reached by email at consumerprotection@utah.gov.

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Donovan Mitchell And Georges Niang Podcast About Coronavirus, Drums, And A New Shoe Model