Skip navigation
Sign up to follow your favorites on all your devices.
Sign up

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

Jazz star Donovan Mitchell

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - JANUARY 21: Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz drives down the court during a game against the Golden State Warriors at Vivint Smart Home Arena on January 23, 2021 in Salt Lake City, Utah. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

Getty Images

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:










Chief Sponsor: Kera Birkeland



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


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.