Donovan Mitchell says he misses baseball every day, details almost choosing it over basketball

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Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Donovan Mitchell is unquestionably an NBA superstar, but the Cleveland Cavaliers standout said he very much misses playing baseball, a sport he said he was better at during his younger days.

“I still have that to this day,” Mitchell said of his desire to play baseball. “I’m not gonna lie. Every day I’m like, ‘Man, I miss the game.’ I’m watchin’ the playoffs. I’m tryin’ to dissect everything now.”

Mitchell undoubtedly chose wisely, though his decision of which sport to ultimately pursue may have had a little bit more to do with off-the-field items than actual play on the court or on the field.

The New York native attended the University of Louisville on a basketball scholarship, which gave him the opportunity to hone his game while also extending his education.

“It’s paying for college, first of all,” Mitchell said. “That’s first and foremost. I have an opportunity to do something no one in my family at that time had done. … Go to college and possibly graduate.”

Mitchell said his father left college early to pursue his own baseball career. His dad eventually wound up working for the New York Mets, which appears to be one of the factors that ties Mitchell to seemingly never-ending rumors that he will someday play for the New York Knicks.

In a different world, those rumors might have been geared toward Mitchell winding up in a Mets uniform had he followed his other considerable talent instead.

“I was really good at baseball,” he said. “I was trash at basketball. So I’m like, ‘Bro, I wanna keep buildin’ on this. I wanna keep going.’

“I definitely thought about baseball, but I was like, ‘I’ma keep building. I just wanna see how far this can take us.'”

The 27-year-old showed off his skills on the diamond during a charity softball event this offseason. At the time, he jokingly compared himself to Shohei Ohtani, and Mitchell recently weighed in on the $700 million contract the baseball superstar landed with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Mitchell himself is likely heading for a lucrative payday, whether with the Cavaliers or someone else. He has been eligible to sign a contract extension to stay with Cleveland but has not done so as of yet.

That has caused some concern for Cavaliers fans, but they have to be pleased with what Mitchell continues to provide on the court. This season, the All-Star is averaging 27.6 points, 5.9 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game in his 17 appearances. His rebounds per game would be a new career-high mark while his assists per game would equal his best mark.

Cleveland has fashioned a 13-9 record so far this season and won five of its past six heading into its game Monday at the Orlando Magic. With Mitchell leading the way, the Cavs are on track toward making back-to-back playoff appearances for the first time since 2018.

Considering the Cleveland baseball franchise hasn’t won a World Series in 75 years, maybe Mitchell can one day help it out too.

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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.