Donovan Mitchell doesn’t need LeBron James’ approval.
King James dissed the Jazz during the All-Star draft selection when remarking on the Utah standouts, Mitchell and center Rudy Gobert, being the last two selections made.
Team Durant scooped up Mitchell and Team LeBron, perhaps reluctantly, took Gobert.
“I don’t want to be rude, but I really don’t care,” Mitchell said during Sunday’s All-Star availability Zoom call. “People have been talking s— about me for a while. We’re not doing this to seek the approval of [James].”
The Knicks passed on Mitchell, the Westchester product, in the 2017 draft to select Frank Ntilikina at No. 8. Mitchell, out of Louisville, fell to 13th and has become a two-time All-Star in Salt Lake City.
He’s had his doubters.
“Whether I’m picked last or first, I’m here,’’ Mitchell said.
During the televised draft this past week for Sunday’s game, TNT’s Ernie Johnson expressed surprise the final two players left in the draft were from the NBA’s best team, Utah.
“There’s no slander to the Utah Jazz,” James said Thursday. “You guys gotta understand, just like in video games growing up, we never played with Utah. Even as great as Karl Malone and John Stockton was, we would never pick those guys in video games. Never.”
For historical perspective, James once said Dennis Smith Jr. falling to No. 9 in that 2017 draft to Dallas was a shocker and made no mention of where Mitchell was selected.