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Donovan Mitchell talks about 'exhausting' Utah experience, then leads Cavs in Jazz blowout

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Donovan Mitchell leads the Cleveland Cavaliers Monday to a 122-99 victory over the Utah Jazz team that traded him this offseason.

Before the game, he open to Andscape’s Marc J. Spears about his time in Salt Lake City and his relationship with his former teammate Rudy Gobert. He told Spears in an interview published Monday that “we did a lot of special things” while acknowledging that a jazz team led by himself and Gobert that never made it to the Western Conference Finals did not meet expectations.

“Basketball just didn’t work out,” Mitchell said of her relationship with Gobert.

Mitchell, who played five seasons in Utah, also spoke about the challenges of being a black athlete in a predominantly white city, an experience he says changed for him in Cleveland. He described his experience in Utah as “exhausting”.

“If I’m being honest with you, I never really said that, but it was exhausting,” Mitchell told Spears. “It was draining my energy just because you can’t sit in your room and cheer me on and then do all these different things.”

Mitchell cited an incident which saw Isabella Tichenor, a 10-year-old student from Utah, commit suicide amid bullying allegations. He also made reference to Utah State Senator Stuart Adams, who suggested Mitchell needed to be educated after Mitchell spoke out against a critical race theory resolution in the state legislature.

“I’m not saying every fan specifically, but I just feel like it was a lot of things. A state senator saying I need to be educated about my own black history. Seeing black kids being bullied at because of their skin color. a little girl hanging herself because she is harassed.”

December 19, 2022;  Cleveland, Ohio, USA;  Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson (00) defends Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell (45) in the first quarter at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.  Mandatory Credit: David Richard - USA TODAY Sports
December 19, 2022; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Utah Jazz Guard Jordan Clarkson (00) Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell (45) defends in the first quarter at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. Mandatory Credit: David Richard – USA TODAY Sports

Mitchell called it “a lot” of pushback against his advocacy for racial equality and said it was hard not to see a lot of black people in the stands at Jazz home games.

“And then to not see a lot of us in the crowd, I did my best to make sure I invited young black and brown kids to games, to be around the community,” continued Mitchell. But just not seeing us there was definitely tough.

“And being in Cleveland now, you see us on the court. It’s just refreshing. It’s a blessing to be back with people like me.”

The change of scenery suited Mitchell well. He led the Cavs with 23 points in just 23 minutes on Monday and rested on the bench in the fourth quarter of the blowout victory. He hit 4 of 5 3-pointers while shooting 8 of 12 from the field. The effort mirrors his norm since the Mitchell trade averaging a career-best 29.5 points per game while shooting 50.3% from the field and 42.4% from 3-yard range. points. His performance generates the MVP buzz. This also translates into wins.

Monday’s victory took the Cavs to 21-11, including an NBA record 15-2 at home. After the game, Mitchell kept the basketball conversation going while acknowledging thatIt’s different when you play against your friendsthe guys that you’ve been in a locker room with, that you’ve fought with.”

Monday’s game was in Cleveland. He expects the Jan. 10 rematch when he returns to Utah to strike differently.

“Always good to play against your guys.” Mitchell told reporters. “I think the biggest game will probably be when we get back there.”

Also worth highlighting on the calendar: Jan. 14 vs. Minnesota Wolves. This will be Mitchell’s first chance to face Gobert, who the Jazz also traded in the offseason. Mitchell missed a Nov. 13 game at Cleveland with a sprained ankle.

“I’m going to give him a hug and be happy to see him,” Mitchell told Spears of Gobert. “And I wish him the best. There is no hatred. There is no ill will towards any of this.”