Donovan Mitchell has always been a superstitious player especially when it comes to shoes. Throughout his college career, he played for an extended time in the same shoes, unlike other players who like to get a fresh pair of kicks now and then. When he was drafted into the league this remained the same, Mitchell wore the same pair of shoes for summer league as he had played in the NCAA tournament a few months prior. Playing for the University of Louisville, Mitchell has come accustom to wearing Adidas gear. He decided to sign a multiyear deal with Adidas going into his rookie season, in fact, he was the only lottery pick from last year to sign with Adidas. Adidas can’t be too disappointed by this because at the moment they inked the best player from this year’s draft class.
Mitchell has cemented himself as a rookie of the year finalist with a season followed by a surprisingly successful playoff run. During the season he did things that very few and, in some cases, others have never done as a first-year player. One thing he did is breaking Damian Lillard’s most made three-point field goals by a rookie. Lillard in his rookie season 2012-13 knocked down 185 threes Mitchell slightly edged this number with 187. Comparatively, Mitchell and Lillard’s rookie statistics have lots of similarities, Mitchell had a slight advantage of points per game whereas Lillard had slightly more assist. These two are quite comparable as they play very similar, both are capable of scoring from just about anywhere on the court at any time. It’s safe to say that Mitchell has the capability of being the player and the star Lillard has become.
Throughout the season being sponsored by Adidas, Mitchell wore Damian Lillard’s signature shoe the Dame 4’s. However contrary to what he usually practices Mitchell switched up his kicks quite a bit. With the help of shoe artist Kickstradomis Mitchell hardly ever wore basic Dame 4’s. During the year Mitchell made a statement with his shoes, shortly after his alma mater lost their most recent championship due to a scandal Mitchell wore shoes that showed his support and merely read champs while listing the roster of the team. Martin Luther King says Mitchell’s shoes had excerpts from Dr. King’s “I have a Dream Speech.” Most recently Mitchell custom kicks read rookie on the top of the shoe. Mitchell has company from other ROTY finalist especially in that as Ben Simmons who was drafted last year. Mitchell has campaigned for himself throughout the season on the court of course but off as he questions the situation in which has benefited Ben Simmons.
Simmons, as stated, was drafted in the previous year draft but missed all last season with a foot injury. Mitchell views this as a massive benefit to Simmons as he had a full year to prepare for NBA exposure while he played in college. Simmons is technically a rookie under NBA rules, but that doesn’t stop Mitchell from pointing out the literal meaning of rookie in the dictionary. Before a game on April 10, Mitchell arrived at Vivint Smart Home Arena in a hoodie in which Adidas made especially for him; the hoodie had the word rookie and its definition. Adidas later released to the public on their website, hoodies, and shirts that simply read “Rookie?” Adidas has done more campaigning for Mitchell to receive the Rookie of the Year award then he has himself. Adidas even put up a billboard in Salt Lake City with the same slogan as the hoodies online “Rookie?” It seems that Adidas has realized the star potential Mitchell possess and that could lead to bigger and better for Donovan.
One of the highest honors an athlete can receive is their own signature shoe. Could we see Mitchell with his own shoe soon? This seems to be a very plausible due to the company that Donovan has chosen to wear, Adidas. Adidas does not have an extensive list of players under contract; they currently have about 70 athletes that wear the brand which is about 13% of the players in the league. Adidas has three players with signature shoes; Derrick Rose the once MVP now bench player due to injuries, MVP finalist this year James Harden and Damian Lillard. As stated above Mitchell stats and style of play are very comparable to Lillard. It appears that Mitchell also has lots of support from the company with his campaign for ROTY. Lillard, who won ROTY by unanimous vote in his rookie year, signed at the time one of the largest current shoe deals with Adidas, which came with a signature shoe. This occurred late in the season in 2014 which was during his sophomore season. Could we see Mitchell receive a similar deal as Lillard did if he continues to show his star potential? If Adidas follows a similar blueprint that they did with Lillard then come next offseason, we could be seeing a signature shoe for young star Donovan Mitchell.