(NEW YORK) — Donovan Mitchell is one of three NBA players who contracted the novel coronavirus and now, from isolation, the Jazz guard said “the scariest part about this virus” is that an infected person, like himself, can show no symptoms at all and spread it to others unknowingly.
“I have no symptoms which is a unique — when people ask me I would say if you were to tell me I could play in a seven-game series tomorrow, I would be ready to lace up,” Mitchell told ABC News’ Robin Roberts during an exclusive interview on Good Morning America. “I’m just blessed to be able to be okay.”
The 23-year-old NBA star, who showed no symptoms when he was first tested for COVID-19, said “things are going well” in isolation and he has “no fever, no symptoms as of right now.”
“I’m asymptomatic — I could walk down the street if it wasn’t public knowledge that I was sick, you wouldn’t know it,” Mitchell said. “I think that’s the scariest part about this virus, is that you may seem fine, be fine and you never know who you may be talking to who they’re going home to.”
For Mitchell, the testing itself was the most difficult part of the infection.
“It was a swab down my throat. It was about 15 seconds of probably the most discomfort I ever had. I ended up crying,” he explained. “Tears came out of my eyes when they started going up in this area. It was definitely unique, but I’m glad I was able to get it.”
His teammate Rudy Gobert was the first of three players in the league to test positive for the novel coronavirus, which prompted the NBA to suspend the season.
The Jazz center faced backlash and apologized on Instagram after a video showed him touching microphones and recording devices after a shoot around last Monday that appeared to make light of the severity of the virus and the NBA’s temporary media restrictions at the time.
Mitchell said “It took a while for me to kind of cool off and I read what he said and I heard what he said, so I’m glad he’s doing okay.”
Mitchell added that he’s glad they are both doing well and grateful that “it’s just two of us” and that other players, staff and any of their families were not impacted.
“At the end of the day neither him or I have children at home. I know I have teammates that have children, staff that have children at home, so I’m glad that we were able to kind of contain it as much as possible,” Mitchell explained.
After Mitchell, Detroit Pistons center Christian Wood, who matched up against Gobert in Utah’s March 7 away win, was the next NBA player to test positive for COVID-19.
Even from isolation though, Mitchell has found a way to help his community and give back amid growing concerns over coronavirus.
“I’m working on a partnership with the Salt Lake Granite School District, that’s about 88 to 90 schools, about 66,000 kids, just being able to provide them meals,” Mitchell said.
“That particular school district in Salt Lake City is home to some of the most vulnerable children” in the area, which is why Mitchell said he wants to give back.
“For parents who may not have the money — being able to not send their kids off to school to get food, I think is a scary feeling for them and I want to be able to make sure that they’re set and they understand that guys like myself and whoever may have their back,” he said.
In the meantime as he rides out his isolation, Mitchell said he has kept himself busy with video games, movies and even watched old basketball highlights of his college and early NBA days.
“I’ve been doing a lot of that — It’s kind of bringing back good memories, but you miss the game, miss playing in front of some of the best fans in the world in the NBA,” he said.
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