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Donovan Mitchell Wears Protest Jersey for NBA 3-Point Contest

Interesting move by Cavs guard Donovan Mitchell during Saturday night’s 3-Point Contest. Instead of wearing his own No. 45 jersey, Mitchell wore No. 5 with “Money Merrill” as the NOB, both of which referred to his Cleveland teammate Sam Merrill, who in Mitchell’s opinion should have been part of the event.

Merrill leads the Cavs with a 44.2% shooting rate, good for 10th in the league in that category. Despite that, he was not invited to participate the 3-Point Contest. (Mitchell, by contrast, is at 36.1%.)

While Mitchell’s shout-out to his teammate may have earned him Good Guy points, it didn’t help him in the contest, as he was eliminated in the first round.

Mitchell wasn’t the only player wearing a custom jersey on Saturday. Jaime Jaquez Jr. of the Heat, who was participating in the Slam Dunk Contest, began by wearing the team’s current “Heat Culture” City jersey, but then switched to a Spanish-language version, with “El Heat Cultura,” for his second dunk. Here are shots of him in both jerseys:

Anyone know why that first “U” was shown in red for the second jersey?

(My thanks to reader Josh Levy and reader/commenter Brian for bringing these developments to my attention.)

Comments (14)

    The U is highlighted and the font is changed because it’s supposed to be a #11. His jersey number. It’s really dope.


    It was neat to see, that’s for sure, and the potential for graphics and animation is unlimited. But, dang, I can’t imagine how annoying it must have been to play on it. They probably wished they had sunglasses on!

    I personally loved it, and maybe they shoulda hosted the ASG on it, but I understand the many safety reasons that prevented this. There was a marginal amount of risk involved for All Star Saturday night, but I’m sure that was why it was limited to that.

    Those LED courts are slippery and if they decide to play full games on it the graphics should really be restrained during play. It was used during a FIBA U18 girls tournament last year and I saw many players slip and fall.

    Oh, about Mitchell: I like his statement but I like the front of his shirt even more with the old Cavalier.

    That Cavs jersey’s not in the team’s current rotation, which makes it odd. I’m kinda shocked Paul didn’t mention that. No other player (except Jacquez, so wore a variation on the current Heat City edition) did this.


    The LED court is neat technology but it’s too much. It’s just a constant glow and the light shining up eliminated all shadows so everyone was just floating on a glowing light. We’re truly entering living in a video game world.

    Also, if it catches on, it’s just going to be another extension for ads. It won’t be used for good. Think of it like the digital banners used on hockey rinks now, or teams that install mega wide LED scoreboards only to use the exact same footprint as the original scoreboards, just the ads on the sides are now digital.

    I’d argue that we’re already there, at least from the focus of the three-point contest (I didn’t catch any of the Slam Dunk contest and much of the Skills, but watched the Threes and the Steph/Sab Showdown). Many of the graphics were in direct reference to a certain rebranded lemon-lime soda. It can absolutely get worse, but even at baseline it’s not great. The only benefit would be adding a shot clock/game clock to the court itself (rather than digital insertion during broadcast), but does that even benefit the players?

    Nope it wouldn’t. Players already have a shot clock that almost exclusively visible to them (and not really viewable during the broadcast). I do love it when broadcast teams digitally transpose it over the floor, BTW.

    Heat is a proper noun, so it wouldn’t be changed. But El Heat Cultura or El Cultura Del Heat would make sense.

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