Issac Baldizon/NBAE via Getty Images
Donovan Mitchell gave Dwyane Wade a rocking chair as a retirement gift
After 15 seasons of breaking ankles, blowing by defenders, and getting fans to jump out of their seats, Donovan Mitchell figured Dwyane Wade could use a rest. So on Tuesday night, the young Utah Jazz gave the future Hall of Famer a rocking chair as a retirement gift.
“It was kind of our way of saying welcome to the new life outside of the NBA,” the 22-year-old Mitchell said.
At a private #OneLastDance dinner on Tuesday night in Utah, Donovan Mitchell gifted Dwyane Wade with a rocking chair.— Tzvi Twersky (@TTwersky) December 12, 2018
Both men, more than players, are standup individuals and excellent role models. Oh, and funny as hell. pic.twitter.com/NyaZPO8jnr
Mitchell and Wade celebrated together at Valter’s Osteria in downtown Salt Lake on Tuesday night. On Wednesday, the rising star and the retiring star would face off for the final time in Wade’s career.
“Playing against him one last time,” Mitchell said, “I’m excited.”
Mitchell and Wade have developed a close bond over the past few months. Mitchell started watching the veteran’s game film more and more as NBA executives compared his game to Wade’s during the pre-draft process. Then in the middle of last season, the two men started to form a real friendship.
Mitchell said he calls Wade frequently, spending two hours on the line during one of those conversations.
“I’m surprised he hasn’t gotten tired of it, to be honest,” Mitchell said. “But not a lot of guys are like that. He talks to you, listens and answers your questions about life, basketball, whatever it may be.”
Mitchell and Wade exchanged jerseys after the Jazz and Heat played earlier this month in Miami. It has been Wade’s custom to swap jerseys after most games during his farewell tour. Mitchell plans to put Wade’s jersey in a case on the wall of his home—and he wouldn’t mind adding a second jersey Wednesday night.
“I don’t know what tonight holds,” Mitchell said at shootaround on Wednesday morning. “If he wants to do it again, we can do it again. But he probably has something else planned.”