The Utah Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell played one final game at home against his idol Dwyane Wade on Wednesday, Dec. 12.
Since announcing his retirement after 16 seasons in the league, Wade has been making his final rounds to each NBA city to trade jerseys and give tips to upcoming talent, including Mitchell.
Fourteen NBA seasons separate the start of Mitchell and Wade’s careers, yet their position, size and basketball style are consistently compared. Mitchell is listed as 6 feet, 3 inches tall and 215 pounds while Wade is listed as 6 feet, 4 inches tall and 220 pounds. Both players are shooting guards, while Wade also plays as a point guard.
The two have drawn statistical comparisons during their tenures in the NBA as well, especially during their rookie seasons. Mitchell shot 43.7 percent from the field while Wade shot 46.5 percent. Mitchell averaged 20.5 points per game while Wade averaged 16.2. Mitchell averaged close to four assists per game while Wade averaged close to five. Both athletes averaged nearly four rebounds per game.
“I think it’s a great comparison, particularly a young D Wade, who came in and was such a great attacker,” NBA “GameTime” commentator Grant Hill said on a video posted on Dec. 12. “Similar size, similar build.”
After the Jazz pulled an early 25 point lead at the end of the first quarter, the team’s confidence sank in.
“We started from the tip being aggressive, causing havoc on defense, and then just not thinking about it too much and playing under control on offense,” Mitchell said.
Though the Jazz pulled away and the final score was 111-84, fans gave Wade standing ovations as he entered and exited the court for the last time in Utah.
“He acts like a pro,” Mitchell said. “That’s why I give him so much credit because he does it on a daily basis and it shows in the game.”
Stance CEO Jeff Kearl, a dominant supporter of both players, attended the game. Mitchell and Wade are two of the sock brand’s biggest ambassadors as both have designed their own lines. The Stance team and some of its employees wore long sleeve shirts to commemorate the three-time NBA champion.
Appreciation toward both players was obvious throughout the Vivint Smarthome Arena.
“So much appreciation for the Utah organization for acknowledging me,” Wade said during a postgame interview. “I definitely appreciate it. The crowd was incredible. It always is.”