I’m paying homage to Darrell Griffith obviously. Just being from Louisville, and playing for the Jazz, I had to do a little something. —Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell
LOS ANGELES — Donovan Mitchell broke out some new gear Saturday.
As he settled into his seat to address reporters for the second day of NBA All-Star media availability, the stocky 21-year-old showed off his fresh, new, customized hoodie.
The sleeveless top was purple on one side and white on the other with the vintage Utah Jazz logo and No. 35 on the front. Across the top of the back, it read: “Griffith.”
True Utah Jazz fans are familiar with this legendary figure known as “Dr. Dunkenstein.”
As Mitchell prepares to participate in his first dunk contest at Los Angeles’s Staples Center tonight, he decided to honor his fellow Louisville alumnus and Jazz legend Darrell Griffith. His jersey may be lifted in the Vivint Arena rafters, among the retirees, but Mitchell has decided to carry on that legacy.
“I’m paying homage to Darrell Griffith, obviously,” Mitchell said. “Just being from Louisville, and playing for the Jazz, I had to do a little something.
“I actually got this customized with his name on the back,” he described. “It’s pretty cool, I just got this to pay tribute.”
Who knows? You may even witness Mitchell break out a few of his tricks during the contest.
“Maybe,” Mitchell said. “We’ll see.”
Griffith spent his entire NBA career in Utah from 1980-91 and was a slam dunk participant in 1984 and 1985. He now resides in Louisville, Kentucky, where he frequently follows Mitchell’s young career.
Griffith first met Mitchell during his freshman season at the University of Louisville and has invited him into his popular, Southern-inspired Griff’s restaurant on many occasions.
“I think it’s awesome. We’re both coming from Louisville,” Griffith said. “I wore No. 35 and he wears No. 45 and I’ve talked to Donovan a lot during his time in Louisville and told him never to be satisfied with his game.”
Mitchell has practiced hard to perfect his routine with dunk coach Chuck Millan. He’ll be ready.
“Trust me, I’m going to make sure he’s coming out swinging, first round,” Millan said.