Friday, February 23 2024

During a recent appearance on “Run Your Race,” Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell recalled a time during the COVID-19 pandemic when he spent locked in his mother’s basement in Connecticut because family members thought he contracted the virus.

“I couldn’t go nowhere and get food because people thought I really had COVID,” Mitchell said. “And this was when, remember that high school kid that died? So, people didn’t know if you were healthy, unhealthy, whatever the thing was. So, I was locked in my mom’s basement for about a month and a half.”

Rudy Gobert, Mitchell’s teammate on the Utah Jazz at the time, was the first NBA player to test positive for the virus before the league suspended the 2019-20 season. The league announced the suspension of the season on March 11, 2020.

A day later, ESPN reported that Mitchell did in fact test positive for the virus. Jazz players “privately said Gobert had been careless in the locker room, touching other players and their belongings.” Mitchell was the only other Utah player or personnel member to test positive for the virus.

In late July, the regular season resumed at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. Twenty-two of the league’s 30 teams were in attendance inside the Orlando bubble to complete the regular season and playoffs. The Los Angeles Lakers went on to defeat the Miami Heat in six games of the 2020 NBA Finals to win their 17th championship.

Cleveland Cavaliers’ Donovan Mitchell was locked in his mom’s basement because his family thought he had COVID-19

In Utah’s 135-125 overtime loss to the Denver Nuggets on Aug. 17, 2020, the Louisville product recorded 57 points, the third most in playoff history. Six days later, Mitchell joined Michael Jordan and Allen Iverson as the only players to score 50 or more points twice in a playoff series.

Mitchell played two more seasons in Utah before he was traded to Cleveland prior to the start of the 2022-23 season. During his five seasons with the Jazz, the guard received three All-Star selections and became a top-1o scorer in Utah’s franchise history.

Jazz fans could argue that the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to Mitchell and Gobert’s trades. Neither player saw eye to eye during a time of hardship. “Right now, we’re good,” Mitchell told Good Morning America in July before the 2019-20 season resumed.

“We’re going out there ready to hoop. I think the biggest thing that kind of sucked was that it took away from guys on the team, took away from what the guys on the team were trying to do. … Rudy and I had COVID and whatever happened, happened, but now we’re ready to hoop.”

Both players have yet to win an NBA championship. Last season, Donovan Mitchell scored a career-high 71 points in Cleveland’s 145-134 overtime win over the Chicago Bulls on Jan. 2.

The three-time All-Star scored or assisted on 99 points, the second most in NBA history since Wilt Chamberlain (104). Of course, that was Chamberlain’s 100-point game against the New York Knicks on March 2, 1962.

Source: Basketball Insider


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