Utah state rep introduces bill ‘honoring Donovan Mitchell over Shaquille O’Neal’

Jazz star Donovan Mitchell
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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:

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HOUSE RESOLUTION HONORING DONOVAN MITCHELL

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OVER SHAQUILLE O’NEAL

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2021 GENERAL SESSION

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STATE OF UTAH

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Chief Sponsor: Kera Birkeland

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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:

16          None

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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

26     88.1%);

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.