Donovan Mitchell among Cavs that think Travis Kelce was on the map before Taylor Swift romance

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Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Cleveland Cavaliers are the latest to weigh in on the ubiquitous Travis Kelce-Taylor Swift romance, and players were quick to defend the status of the Kansas City Chiefs tight end and Ohio native who will be honored by the team with a bobblehead night this season.

Asked by youth reporters if Swift put Kelce on the map, Donovan Mitchell dismissed that notion.

“No, she did not,” Mitchell said. “Travis Kelce is a two-time champion, three-time Pro Bowler, but he’s definitely boosting his followers and jersey sales for sure. She’s definitely doing that.”

Darius Garland also recognized Kelce’s standing before the high-profile relationship became public.

“No, she did not put Travis Kelce on the map,” Garland said. “He was a great football player before she was even thought about being in the picture, you know. But [he] did a great job with them.”

Fellow Ohio native Caris LeVert admitted he was a fan in sticking up for the All-Pro player.

“I’m a Chiefs fan so I’m going to say no, but she definitely had made him more popular,” LeVert said.

The Cavaliers have scheduled a bobblehead promotion for March 5 in honor of the Chiefs star and his brother Jason, a center for the Philadelphia Eagles and one-time Super Bowl champion. The siblings famously faced off in the Super Bowl last NFL season, with the Chiefs defeating the Eagles for their second title in four seasons.

They are from Cleveland Heights, Ohio, where Travis Kelce played high school basketball, and actually named their popular podcast “New Heights.”

Swift and Travis Kelce were at first coy about their budding romance. But the pop superstar was seen at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City for a game against the Chicago Bears followed by her showing up at MetLife Stadium when the Chiefs faced the New York Jets last Sunday night.

Her fans, known as Swifties, have shown their support for the NFL star as well, with his Instagram followers up by nearly a million and his jersey sales by 400 percent, according to ESPN.

The Cavaliers are entering the 2023-24 NBA season with some significant buzz as well, considered to be an up-and-coming team that may be able to contend in the powerful Eastern Conference against the likes of the new-look Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Celtics and 2023 NBA finalist Miami Heat.

Mitchell is about to enter his second season in Cleveland with talk of a contract extension a hot topic. Garland, Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen form the rest of an exciting young core.

It remains to be seen if Travis Kelce and Swift will remain an item until March, when the brothers’ bobblehead will be given out at a game against the Celtics. If they still are, expect it to be a very, very hot ticket and souvenir.

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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.