Cavs players take in high school basketball game to enjoy rivalry and give young fans something to shoot for

Published: Dec. 1, 2022 at 11:35 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Cleveland Cavaliers stars Donovan Mitchell, and Darius Garland took to the court Thursday night, but they weren’t suited up for the wine and gold, instead, they were out trying to make a difference in our community.

As the Garfield Heights Bulldogs hosted Cleveland Heights for one of the biggest high school basketball rivalries in Northeast Ohio, four Cavs players had a front row seat to watch the sold out game. Along with Donovan Mitchell and Darius Garland, Cavs players Isaac Okoro and Sharife Cooper were also front and center.

One young fan of the Cavaliers told 19 News, “Every high schooler would dream to see an NBA player come to your high school game. These kids are playing hard and representing their schools.”

The rivalry on the court had parents and students alike cheering loud and proud. Sonny Johnson is Garfield Heights’ Head Basketball Coach, “Anytime you play Cleveland Heights they have good talent, good players. So, it’s always a rivalry when you play a good team, the coach is a good guy. Definitely a rivalry.”

Coach Johnson pleased that the true love of the game of basketball brought Cleveland’s MVP’s to watch, meet and inspire young players, “When they told me they was coming, I’m looking forward to meeting them.”

So, why tonight? Why did the group of Cavs stars pick this particular game to watch? Donovan Mitchell tweeted at the end of October, “Need some high school basketball schedules for schools in Cleveland. Send them!”

The Cavs declined an interview during half-time of the high school game. But it’s understandable, these stars of the court just wanted to relax and enjoy good basketball on a high school court. It also served as a reminder to many of their young fans who see them as role models, that even pro players started somewhere, and it was often on high school courts where their talent propelled them to greater things.

Cleveland Heights 8th grader Jacob Matthews was all smiles as he spotted the NBA players, “It’s real cool. Donovan Mitchell is my favorite on the team.”

Pros on the basketball court, taking time out to watch a competitive high school game, while giving young players and fans something to shoot for.