SALT LAKE CITY — An escort sex scandal may have cost the University of Louisville its 2013 national title, but one distinguished alumnus continues to support his former school.
Utah Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell has been extremely vocal in support of the Cardinals hoops program amid the controversy on social media.
On Friday, he even showed up to Vivint Arena to face the Portland Trail Blazers in a custom pair of red/white Adidas Dame 4 sneakers with the last names of team members sprinkled throughout the shoes and “2013 Champs” on the heels.
During his charity bowling event Wednesday, he also showed up in a Louisville beanie and T-shirt.
“Just having my school’s back,” Mitchell said. “I said what I said, and the biggest thing was just having my guys' back. They’re my friends at the end of the day. It’s been a lot of negative press so I just felt I should voice my opinion.”
Peyton Siva was one of the stars on the now-bannerless Louisville championship team. He caught wind of Mitchell’s gesture on Twitter and retweeted the photo with a fist emoji.
Darrell “Dr. Dunkenstein” Griffith, another former Louisville star, was in Salt Lake City on Friday for a rare appearance. The Jazz alumnus returned to present Mitchell with his Slam Dunk Contest trophy in the first game after All-Star break.
Griffith still lives in Louisville, Kentucky, where he runs Griff’s sports bar and restaurant. In 1980, Griffith led the Cards to their first-ever national title then earned the nickname Dr. Dunkenstein throughout his 10-year career — all played in Utah.
“We all are cheering for Donovan. Everybody is in his corner,” Griffith said. “From my understanding — I wasn’t at the game — but when Louisville played North Carolina during the dunk contest, they were showing the dunks during the breaks at the Yum! Center on the big screen, so everybody is engaged with Donovan.
“He’s a blessing for us right now.”