‘Played My A** Off’ – Former NBA All Star Defends Donovan Mitchell Against Shaquille O’Neal’s Criticism

Published 02/18/2021, 5:59 AM EST
Jan 26, 2021; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) slaps the hand of center Rudy Gobert (27) during the third quarter against the New York Knicks at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Utah Jazz wins 108-94. Mandatory Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports


Donovan Mitchell has been fantastic this season. The Utah Jazz guard has been one of the best players in the NBA, and has been the driving force for the Jazz as they established the best record in the NBA. Currently, the Jazz have won 19 of their last 20 games, and Mitchell has been playing at an MVP level throughout this stretch.

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Kenyon Martin defends Donovan Mitchell

Former NBA All-Star Kenyon Martin spoke recently to BasketballNews, where he defended Donovan Mitchell from the criticism he’s been receiving recently. NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal has been very critical of Mitchell, and Martin believes Shaq owes Mitchell an apology. Shaq is not privy to the amount of work that Donovan Mitchell has been doing to help his team.

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Feb 9, 2021; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) dribbles the ball against Boston Celtics guard Kemba Walker (8) during the second half at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russell Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

“I would’ve had a rebuttal and they would’ve had to go to commercial,” Martin said. “I would’ve told Shaq exactly what he can do… Yeah, it would’ve been bad. Like, straight up: I just played my a** off out here and you got [something negative to say]? You don’t know the work I put in.”

Shaq is very critical of Mitchell

Martin criticized Shaq for sitting behind a desk and taking shots at Mitchell on TV. As a former player himself, Shaquille O’Neal should know the effect it can have on someone’s psyche. He believes that Shaq doesn’t need to motivate Donovan Mitchell, and he can do that himself.

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Jan 19, 2021; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) goes to the basket during the second quarter against the New Orleans Pelicans at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

“You don’t know what I’m doing to enhance my game or make my team better. That’s the problem, these dudes just be on TV (saying anything)… I don’t need you to motivate me, Shaq. I can motivate myself. He basically told him he ain’t getting it done.”

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Can Donovan Mitchell lead the Utah Jazz to the NBA Championship? Currently, the Jazz are the best team in the NBA. And if they continue on this spectacular run, they will be the first seed in the Western Conference. Given the struggles of the other teams in the Western Conference, the Jazz can capitalize and try to defeat them all to go to the NBA Finals for the first time since 1998.

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Aaditya Krishnamurthy

1068 articles

Aaditya Krishnamurthy is an NBA & NFL journalist for EssentiallySports, before which he worked at BusinessWorld magazine. He has been a fan of Basketball for over 10 years now, since Shaquille O’Neal was a Phoenix Suns player. During his time at Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts, he started a sports magazine for the college called the Overtime Tribune and hosted the Overtime Tribune Podcast until he graduated.

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