Donovan Mitchell flexes signed throwback jersey from Cavs Hall of Famer

3 Min Read
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Donovan Mitchell may be going out of his way to prove he has strong ties to the Cleveland Cavaliers franchise, recently showing off an item signed by one of the best players to ever suit up for them.

Mitchell is rightfully proud of the personalized Lenny Wilkens No. 19 jersey, posting it to social media.

Wilkens played two seasons for the Cavs – the 1972-73 and 1973-74 campaigns – before completing his excellent 15-season NBA career with one year with the Portland Trail Blazers. He later was head coach of the Cavaliers from the 1986-87 season through the 1992-93 season, leading them to the playoffs five times, including the 1992 Eastern Conference Finals.

Now 85 years old, Wilkens was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as a player in 1989, coach in 1998 and assistant coach for the 1992 U.S. Olympic “Dream Team” in 2010.

The nod to this significant figure in Cavaliers history is the latest move by Mitchell embracing his role with the franchise. The soon-to-be 27-year-old and the Cavs have been constantly dogged by rumors that he will not be in Cleveland for the long term.

Head coach J.B. Bickerstaff recently had to comment on that speculation, saying that his star player is “all in” on what the Cavs are doing this offseason. But that did not stop New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson from talking about possibly playing with his good friend and New York native somewhere down the line.

All of this activity has caused the Cavs to reportedly keep “rolling out the red carpet” in an effort to entice Mitchell to stay. Cleveland acquired the guard in a trade with the Utah Jazz last offseason, and he averaged 28.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game in his first season with the Cavs.

The pressure on Mitchell will only increase after they made the playoffs for the first time since 2018 but were dispatched by the Knicks in five games in the first round. Former Cavs player and ESPN analyst Richard Jefferson said it’s Mitchell’s job to now make his teammates better, specifically mentioning emerging star Evan Mobley.

Based on his activity this offseason, which has included reacting to a former Cavs teammate getting injured at the 2023 FIBA World Cup, Mitchell does indeed seem to be all in on his future in Cleveland.

Share This Article
Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NBA for almost three decades. One of his favorite sports memories is the Cavaliers-Nets playoff series from 1993.