Donovan Mitchell scored a season-high 36 points in a nationally televised win over the New Orleans Pelicans on TNT last night. After the game, Mitchell joined the Inside the NBA crew where Shaquille O'Neal pretty much just insulted him to his face and asked for his reaction.
"You are one of my favorite players, but you don't have what it takes to get to that next level. I said it on purpose and I want you to hear it. What do you have to say about that?"
This was probably some sort of misguided attempt at motivation, but why? It just came off as petty, mean and unprofessional. Mitchell legitimately looked hurt and confused and I can't blame him. He deserves a lot of credit for not taking the headset off right there.
Instead he stuck around so Kenny Smith could try to explain that the panel had a conversation at halftime about whether Mitchell was a superstar.
Even with complete context, there were still a million better ways to broach the subject with Mitchell. And there were probably three other guys with microphones who could have brought Mitchell into the conversation without making it sound confrontational.
And why have the conversation at all? It's a two-minute interview after Mitchell just had a great game and the first thing someone says to Mitchell is "you know you're not really that good, right?" Shaq said he was happy with Mitchell's answer. So? He just said he's nothing more than a good scorer. He thinks he has to be the second- or third- best player on a team to win a title.
Does Shaq truly believe Mitchell can work hard enough to become a Superstar because he hadn't mentioned it previously. It didn't sound like anyone on the panel thought that at halftime, so why even ask?