On Thursday night, the NBA aired the 2021 All-Star Draft as LeBron James and Kevin Durant made their selections for their respective squads, and after 21 picks had been made, the final two players left on the board were both from the Utah Jazz.
Charles Barkley called the two captains out for “Utah Jazz slander” and LeBron tried to insist that wasn’t the case and, in doing so, proceeded to dump all over the franchise’s history, noting that no matter how good they’ve been, no one has ever really wanted to pick the Jazz’s stars. It drew plenty of laughs, but in Utah, it was the latest example of disrespect towards a franchise that believes it hasn’t gotten its just due, particularly this season as they enter the All-Star break with the league’s best record.
On Sunday, Donovan Mitchell had his All-Star availability and was asked about James’ comments, noting that he doesn’t care about it at this point and that he’s heard people “talking sh*t” about him since he came into the NBA.
Spida wasn't bothered by LBJ joking about the Jazz.
"We didn’t play this game to seek the approval of him or anyone else." pic.twitter.com/pIgP6WO5nJ
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) March 7, 2021
Donovan Mitchell, on the Jazz in the All-Star Draft: "I don’t wanna be rude, but I don’t care. At the end of the day, I made it, Rudy made it, Mike made it, coach made it. Whether I got picked last or first, I’m here."
— Eric Walden (@tribjazz) March 7, 2021
Donovan Mitchell on LeBron James’ Utah comments during All-Star draft – “I don’t want to be rude but I really don’t care….people have been talking s*** about me for a while…we’re not doing this to seek the approval of him.”
— Sarah Todd (@NBASarah) March 7, 2021
Donovan Mitchell says he doesn’t care about what LeBron James said about the Jazz. “People been talking shit about me since I got in the league, saying I can’t do certain things.” Says he doesn’t play to seek LeBron’s approval.
— Austin Krell (@NBAKrell) March 7, 2021
It’s the right response from Mitchell, who has certainly had plenty of experience this season dealing with some Hall of Fame criticism after the entire episode with Shaq earlier in the year. Between letting their frustration with the officials fly after the first half finale in Philadelphia and the All-Star Draft process, the Jazz won’t be short on motivation going into the second half of the season. As for Sunday night’s All-Star Game, Mitchell will be playing against his two Utah teammates as part of Team Durant, and can try to exact a little on-court revenge on LeBron if able.