Radio Host: NBA Will Be Donovan Mitchell’s League, He’s ‘Closest Thing To Kobe Bryant’ Right Now
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Fox Sports Radio host Jason Smith said that the NBA will belong to Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell and that “he’s the closest thing to Kobe Bryant that the NBA has right now.”
Smith praised Mitchell’s game following the Jazzman’s 30 point performance to lead Utah to a 124-105 victory over the Denver Nuggets in Game 2 of the first-round matchup. The win tied the Jazz and Nuggets’ series at 1-1.
In Game 1 of the series, Mitchell dropped 57 points.
“Look at all the big stars in the league right now. All the big superduper stars, they’re all in the back halves of their prime. You know Kawhi Leonard’s the youngest of all the big superduper stars and he’s 29. So this is when you hit at least the back half of your prime but guys like Steph and KD are in their 30s and Harden and LeBron, and I said in two years this league is gonna belong to Donovan Mitchell,” Smith said during his radio program, The Jason Smith Show with Mike Harmon, on August 19.
“There’s been a lot of ‘What about Luka Doncic? What about Giannis? Yeah, listen. This is not to say that there’s not a lot of great players in the game and Giannis is fantastic. He’s an MVP. I mean you’ve seen what he can do. But Donovan Mitchell has a Kobe like aspect to his game that none of the other players do,” Smith continued. “It doesn’t mean you’re a better player, but it means you can be a bigger superstar, because it’s just something, that it factor that players have, that turn them into ‘Okay. I want to see what this guy does.’ Look, Luka Doncic is phenomenal. We’ve seen what Giannis is. The guy’s an MVP. He’s 25 years old. The guy can do it all, but that mamba mentality that Damian Lillard has. Damian Lillard’s 30. Donovan Mitchell’s 23 and he’s got that. He’s the closest thing to Kobe Bryant that the NBA has right now. And that’s why I say in two years, it’s going to be his league because I don’t see another player that has that and that captures our imagination and our interest, and that’s why I say that about Donovan Mitchell. It’s not about the other players. Hey look, they’re all great, but this is about Donovan Mitchell and the unique skill set that he has of what he can do on the basketball court at his age.”
The late NBA great and 2020 Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Kobe Bryant owned the nickname “Black Mamba” during his career.
During his basketball career, Bryant won two NBA Finals MVP awards, the league’s regular season MVP award once, led the Los Angeles Lakers to five NBA titles, earned 18 NBA All-Star Game selections, and won two Olympic gold medals.
Bryant’s dedication to excellence both on and off the court became known as the “Mamba Mentality.”
In 2016, Bryant described Mamba Mentality as becoming the “best version of yourself.”
“To sum up what Mamba Mentality is, it means to be able to constantly try to be the best version of yourself,” Bryant said. “That is what the Mentality is. It’s a constant quest to try to better today than you were yesterday.”
“Mamba Mentality is all about focusing on the process and trusting in the hard work when it matters most. It’s the ultimate mantra for the competitive spirit,” Bryant told AmazonBookReview.com in 2018. “It started just as a hashtag that came to me one day, and it’s grown into something athletes — and even non-athletes — embrace as a mindset.”
Smith’s co-host Mike Harmon added to Smith’s comments that Mitchell has the same mentality of the late, great Kobe Bryant.
“With Donovan Mitchell, we certainly see that. That every missed shot. Every missed opportunity. You know you’d get that look on your face and I know you deride it in the Tom Brady’s of the world saying, ‘Ah look, he’s just complaining cause the camera’s on.’ ‘No!’ I know mean that’s 24/7 man,” Harmon said. “That’s the mentality of a winner because you got to be great. Greatness is an attitude.”
Donovan Mitchell’s postseason
Through his first three seasons, Mitchell has won the NBA’s Slam Dunk Contest, earned his first All-Star nod in 2020, and helped Utah reach the postseason three straight seasons.
Through two games against the Nuggets in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, Mitchell has scored 87 points. In addition to his individual tally, the guard has been finding his teammates and has recorded 15 assists.
Those stats helped Mitchell join NBA legends Jerry West and Michael as the only players to do so in the opening two games of a postseason.
Without starters, Mike Conley and Bojan Bogdanovic, Mitchell’s spectacular play has helped knot the Jazz and Nuggets at one game apiece entering Game 3 of the series.
Game 3 between the Jazz and Nuggets will take place on Friday, August 21 at 2 p.m. (MDT).
The game will broadcast on TNT, AT&T SportsNet, and 97.5 FM.