Donovan Mitchell recalls 2020 NBA shutdown: Jazz stayed in locker room for 9 hours

2022-10-21 08:03

Donovan Mitchell gave a shoutout to Chris Paul who sent Utah Jazz 15 bottles of wine amid their 9-hour isolation following the suspended 2020 Jazz-Thunder COVID-19 game.

Credit: AFP-Scanpix
Credit AFP-Scanpix

The new Cleveland Cavaliers signing Donovan Mitchell was still with the Utah Jazz when the NBA suspended games in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mitchell's former teammate Rudy Gobert was the first in the league to test positive, which led to the NBA postponing the season.

"The NBA will use this hiatus to determine the next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic," the league announced on March 12, 2020.

The trigger for the league-wide suspension of play was the unplayed Jazz-Thunder game in OKC's Chesapeake Energy Arena.

On The Old Man and The Three podcast, Mitchell remembered the whole experience he and his teammates went through at that time.

"Out of nowhere all these [hazmat] suits just coming right on the floor. I am like, 'It must be a shooter in the building or something crazy is happening.' It never dawned on me that it was that until it was. Everybody was like, 'What's up with Rudy [Gobert]?' No one's saying anything, it's just that the game was canceled," Mitchell referred to the March 11 matchup between the Thunder and Jazz where both teams were fighting for a higher seed in the West.

"This is back when we didn't know nothing, we didn't know anything. We were in the locker room for nine hours after the game. First of all, Oklahoma did not want us to go anywhere.

"We got tested. This was the original test, the one that is all the way up, touching the skull. It was a lot. But I wouldn't say it was panic in the locker room, it was just like, 'What can we do?' Micthell continued his story.

"Shoutout to Chris Paul [he was playing in OKC]. He sent us 15 bottles of wine that night. We got drunk, I am not going to lie to you. We were just like, 'We got no game for a while.'

"Everybody is calling. We are on FaceTime. Everybody you could think of is calling everybody in the locker room. Like we are trying to drink to not be scared. It was one of those moments, you are just helpless," Mitchell pointed this out to JJ Redick and Tommy Alter.

"So, after 9 hours, we finally go to the completely empty hotel. We can't get food or do anything. I am calling every friend I know that has a private plane. Like look, 'Just get the players out.' Can we get the players at home? And everybody is like, 'No, we are not doing that.'

"None of us went to sleep. We were just sitting there on the curb outside of the Renaissance hotel. Just sitting on a curb, drinking Bud Lights, and chatting. Because we like, 'This the craziest thing I have ever experienced.'

"We didn't think any of us might have had it [COVID-19] at the time. If you ever talked to Ed Davis, he had a cold. He was coughing up a lung the whole night. And we over here like, 'Ed, stay the f**k away from us.' Ed was by himself.

"It was crazy. It was just like a scene out of a movie. I will never forget that night. I have pictures on my phone from that night that I will probably frame up in my house at some point in time, and tell my kids this was one of the biggest moments in sports and in the history of the country," Donovan Mitchell brought his memories back to life.

Donovan Mitchell's story:


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