It’s a special thing, he’s a special kid who deserves everything. His work ethic is tremendous and he’s a better person so I’m happy for him. —Chris Brickley
MEMPHIS — Immediately following Utah’s 10th consecutive road victory in Memphis Friday, Utah Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell made his way over to hug a special guest.
“It was actually my first time sitting courtside in an NBA game,” NBA trainer Chris Brickley said, laughing. “I’ve been working the league for five years, but this is the first time.”
Casual fans may or may not know Brickley but the players certainly do.
Brickley is one of the most sought-out trainers in the league, working with stars such as Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul and now Mitchell.
Mitchell didn’t particularly play his best game, logging 12 points, six assists and five rebounds with five turnovers, but made history as the fastest rookie to rookie to hit 150 3-pointers in 63 games. He passed Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard, who reached the mark in 68 games as a first-year guard in 2012-13.
Mitchell went 3-for-8 from beyond the arc in Utah’s 95-78 victory against the Grizzlies.
“That’s amazing. To think last year, at this point, he was at Louisville, and we didn’t know the future that he was going to have,” Brickley said. “We would talk a lot, and obviously the NBA was on his mind, but I never thought that he would be breaking records as a rookie in the NBA.
“It’s a special thing; he’s a special kid who deserves everything,” he added. “His work ethic is tremendous, and he’s a better person so I’m happy for him.”
Brickley is most known for organizing legendary "Black Ops" pickup games in the summer with Carmelo Anthony, James, Durant, Russell Westbrook and a slew of other NBA All-Stars in attendance.
Mitchell participated in a few of the games at New York’s Life Time Athletic with Anthony, JR Smith, Lance Stephenson and Tyreke Evans and they plan to work together again this summer. Brickley was happy to witness the rising star in person on another monumental night.
“Donovan made some great passes tonight and had a nice dunk,” Brickley said. “That’s 10 straight for the Jazz. They’re rolling and I hope they get in the playoffs.”