Shaquille O’Neal told Donovan Mitchell in an interview, “You don’t have what it takes to get to that next level.”
That struck a nerve.
Not on camera with Mitchell, who replied, “Aight. That’s it.” The Jazz guard said a couple years ago he was uncomfortable no longer being the underdog, and his stature has only risen since. Shaq’s comment provided the fuel Mitchell seeks.
But plenty of people are eager to defend Mitchell – especially in Utah.
Utah state Rep. Kera Birkeland even filed a resolution “honoring Donovan Mitchell over Shaquille O’Neal.” The bill:
HOUSE RESOLUTION HONORING DONOVAN MITCHELL
OVER SHAQUILLE O’NEAL
2021 GENERAL SESSION
STATE OF UTAH
Chief Sponsor: Kera Birkeland
7 LONG TITLE
8 General Description:
9 This resolution honors Utah Jazz All-Star Donovan Mitchell.
10 Highlighted Provisions:
11 This resolution:
12 ▸ recognizes the exemplary service of Donovan Mitchell to the Utah Jazz and the
13 Utah community; and
14 ▸ suggests consideration of making the “Spida” the official state arachnid.
15 Special Clauses:
18 Be it resolved by the House of Representatives of the state of Utah:
19 WHEREAS, the Utah Jazz are a beloved part of the Utah community and the National
20 Basketball Assocation (NBA);
21 WHEREAS, in Utah, we support our players when they face awkward abuse during
22 post-game interviews disguised as pep talks;
23 WHEREAS, the claim by Shaquille O’Neal (Shaq) on January 21, 2021, that Utah Jazz
24 All-Star Donovan Mitchell Jr. (Donovan) doesn’t have what it takes to get to the next level is
25 even less accurate than his 50.4% playoff free-throw percentage (slightly worse than Donovan’s
27 WHEREAS, the Jazz eliminated Shaq and the Los Angeles Lakers from the playoffs in
28 1997 (4-1) and 1998 (4-0);
29 WHEREAS, we are not talking about 2000, 2001, 2002, or 2006 right now, the years in
30 which Kobe Bryant’s Los Angeles Lakers and Dwayne Wade’s Miami Heat won championships
31 for Shaq;
32 WHEREAS, Kazaam has a 5% rating on rotten tomatoes;
33 WHEREAS, Shaq under-develops his hot takes almost as well as his 1990’s “Shaq Fu”
34 video game;
35 WHEREAS, Shaq correctly described Donovan as an elite scorer, given that in just his
36 third NBA season during the 2020 playoffs, Donovan became the third player in NBA history
37 to have at least two 50-point games in a single playoff series (joining Michael Jordan in his
38 fourth season and Allen Iverson in his third season);
39 WHEREAS, on the same night that Shaq disparaged Donovan, Donovan made his
40 600th three-pointer earlier in his career than any other player in the history of the NBA;
41 WHEREAS, as of January 26, 2020, Donovan has drained 1995 field goals, 604
42 3-pointers, and 894 free-throws;
43 WHEREAS, Donovan Mitchell is more than just a scorer, having grabbed 982
44 rebounds, swatted 79 blocks, and picked 306 steals for the Jazz, as of January 26, 2020;
45 WHEREAS, it is hard to pull down rebounds when All-Star Rudy Gobert is on your
46 team, grabbing more rebounds than anyone else in the league as a two-time defensive player of
47 the year (more than Shaq’s zero), one-time league leader in blocks (more than Shaq’s zero), and
48 four-time All-Defensive 1st Teamer (more than Shaq’s zero);
49 WHEREAS, although Shaq’s “skill” was being bigger than everyone else, Donovan has
50 progressively succeeded through talent, dedication, and constant effort;
51 WHEREAS, the following immortal words, once spoken by Bill Walton, apply equally
52 to Donovan, “He is a champion of basketball and of the human spirit as well”;
53 WHEREAS, Donovan has provided backpacks, school supplies, and most importantly,
54 his time, to Utah students;
55 WHEREAS, Donovan launched the SPIDACARES, a foundation to empower women
56 following the example set by his mother and sister; and
57 WHEREAS, Donovan has consistently demonstrated his decency by freely and
58 abundantly giving to local communities and charities while volunteering his time to help his
59 fellow Utahns:
60 NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the House of Representatives of the
61 State of Utah recognizes the exemplary service of Donovan Mitchell Jr. to the Utah Jazz and to
62 the people of the great state of Utah.
63 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the House of Representatives consider making the
64 “Spida” the official state arachnid.
65 BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED “Aight. That’s it.”
This is pretty funny – especially the last line. It’s just well-done enough that I’m indulging Birkeland’s bid for attention.
But I’d still prefer politicians focus on things that actually matter, especially in a time of crisis.