Now, with an early termination on his probation complete (it was reduced to eight-months from the original five-year sentence), Mitchell is hell bent on realigning the wheels of his life back into a positive spin. He spent the past summer honing his game, and staying fit, on the summer circuit in New York. Playing every tournament he could: still maintaining his eye on the prize however.
He wants a chance at the big show once again – knowing that he has a red flag next to his name – Mitchell is prepared to put in work overseas to prove to the NBA that he is committed and moved on from the past.
“I wanted to play in the D-League because the NBA’s always been my dream and last year there was just no responses [from teams]. My agent was telling me ‘you’re gonna’ have to go overseas for another year or two before these teams think about bringing you in for a workout.’
“I took that with a grain of salt and just kept grinding.”
This is more than just about basketball. The, now 26-year old, wants another chance to prove he’s not just another wasted talent. Mitchell wants to be a positive role model for others in his community, a cautionary tale to prevent others from potentially wasting their natural talents.
“My position right now is, not too many people come back from something like that. I’ve got something I can tell kids, even older people who’ve been through it, that you can come back. You don’t have to just count yourself out,” he states matter-of-factly. Robert credits his family for helping him survive the darkest period of his life.
“I got a really strong family. Four sisters, three brothers, they were all just there for me. They rallied around me telling me to keep my head up and keep working towards the future.”
That’s the way it should be, you can’t look back or you won’t achieve anything. Mitchell is determined to push forward, continue to knock on doors. Eventually, one will open.
The journey back begins later this month. Mitchell has workouts set up with the Erie BayHawks and some other D-League teams. The workouts allow him to use it as a showcase of his talents to the rest of the D-League, and NBA teams.
“For me it’s a tool to get everybody’s attention back in the NBA and D-League. Have some current stats to see me playing. Now, people can see that my name is being talked about more [than just what was in the headlines],” claims Mitchell.
So, where does the BK resident envision himself if the NBA came calling? “I would love to be a New York Knick, “ he says with a smile.
The main thing now is that ‘Stix’ is unencumbered by any extra drama or trouble for the first time in years. There’s still something to prove, but Mitchell is finally at ease with his place in life.
“Right now I feel free,” he stresses. “ I mean, I was freed [from jail], I’m out here, I’ve still got that monkey on my back. To have done everything I had to do to get that done and take a deep breath, I feel like I could just go forever now.
“I’ma go hard.”
Not many people can get a second chance at restructuring their life after what Mitchell has been through. He once again knows where he’s headed, and that’s only because he knows where he’s been.