SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Jazz fans saw Donovan Mitchell standing in the middle of a city street this week, and they had some questions.
Nobody asked why he was standing in the street, by the way. They knew. Mitchell was in the barricaded intersection of Rio Grande Street and Karl Malone Drive for a ceremony to officially announce that a pedestrian bridge at The Gateway was being renamed in his honor.
After he expressed his gratitude — and got Jazz fans' hopes up by predicting the team would be playing into June — Mitchell took questions from a handful of the hundreds of people surrounding him.
Fan: When are your (signature Adidas D.O.N. Issue #1) shoes coming out?
Fan: Did you talk to JaVale McGee after you posterized him?
Mitchell: No. I didn’t. Even if I did, I wouldn't much until after (Wednesday). I wouldn’t want to give him any extra motivation for (Wednesday's) game.
Fan: Who's your favorite NBA player?
Mitchell: That’s not on the Jazz? It’s a toss-up, really.
Fan (interrupts): What about Jimmer!?!
Mitchell (laughs): I've gotta stay loyal to Chris Paul and Dwyane (Wade). Those two guys really helped me.
Fan: Favorite restaurant?
Mitchell: I’ve got a few. I kind of rotate depending on how I'm feeling month to month. Ruth’s Chris is up there, for sure. Cheesecake (Factory). I eat there almost every day. Valter's and Benihana. You can’t go wrong with Benihana.
Fan: Who's your barber?
Mitchell: His name is Nixon. (Mitchell points different directions.) I don't know which way is which way yet. I think Holladay. (Points toward the southeast.) He's a very good barber. I just figured out North Salt Lake is that way. (Points north.)
Fan: What's the hardest team to play?
Mitchell: The hardest team I ever played against? Houston’s tough because James (Harden) can go off for 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, whatever it may be. OKC is definitely tough; they’re definitely a tough opponent. Memphis, they’ve given us trouble this whole year. Those two are for sure.
Fan: How old were you when you started playing?
Mitchell: About 8 or 9 years old.
Fan: What’s your favorite part of Utah?4 comments on this story
Mitchell: I went to my little favorite peak up there — Ensign Peak. I don’t go all the way up because I’m too lazy. I go up to where you can drive. I used to just sit up in my car and watch (the Salt Lake Valley). That’s one of my favorite parts, is being able to do that. Growing up in New York, you kind of hear the sirens and the screaming, so to be able to sit up here and hear nothing, I think, is pretty special. Honestly, playing in front of you guys is really cool. You leave for a week and you see some of these arenas and it’s empty, and no matter who we play you guys are there. I think that’s what’s pretty awesome as well.
With that Mitchell left the podium, posed for some photos in front of the huge mural painted on the side of the Donovan Mitchell Bridge and then went around giving high-fives and posing for more pictures with fans.
As he walked by some younger fans, one of them softly yelled out, "Donovan, do you like cats?"
If Ricky Rubio had been there, the answer would’ve been "Meow," of course.
Mitchell responded, "I do."