SALT LAKE CITY — Donovan Mitchell arrived at Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, California, on Monday in style. The Utah Jazz guard sported a red suit, but his transportation to the event is what made the most noise.
Mitchell arrived in a massive Adidas-sponsored black van that read “Rookie?” which has been used in a campaign to troll Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons in the Rookie of the Year race.
Simmons took home the trophy that night, but Adidas still decided to celebrate Mitchell’s record-breaking rookie season Tuesday at its Sport Performance store in Santa Monica.
Mitchell met with hundreds of fans at the event, signing autographs and participating in an arcade-style Pop-A-Shot tournament. He is also transitioning from wearing the “Rookie?” apparel to “Spida” gear.
Dictionary.com has even added “Spida” — Mitchell’s nickname — as an official slang entry with the definition: “A basketball species usually found above the rim; equipped with superhuman senses, shot-slinging abilities and unrivaled balance.” It’s also cited as the “nickname of Donovan Mitchell, record-breaking shooting guard for the Utah Jazz and contender for NBA’s 2018 Rookie of the Year.”
He averaged 20.5 points, set the NBA rookie record for 3-pointers made with 187 and became the first rookie to lead a 45-plus-win team in scoring since David Robinson in 1989-90 as the Jazz finished 48-34 with a second-round playoff appearance.