Donovan Mitchell Says Being A Black Man Living In Utah Was ‘Draining,’ Shares Story About Being Pulled Over By A Cop

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Donovan Mitchell found tremendous success during his five seasons with the Utah Jazz, but has taken his game to a new level since joining the Cleveland Cavaliers. While the Cavs’ playing style and the teammates around him are helping, so to are the culture and people off the court.

Mitchell and the Cavs welcomed his old team to Cleveland on Monday and the 26-year-old led his team in scoring with 23 points en route to a 122-99 win.

Prior to the game, Mitchell reflected on his experience being a black man living in Salt Lake City and talked about how “draining” it was dealing with race and societal issues in a place that is predominantly white.

Donovan Mitchell is averaging just shy of 30 points per game for the Cavs this season. (Photo by Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images)

Mitchell was a vocal advocate for teaching critical race theory in Utah schools in 2021.

“I never really said this, but it was draining,” Mitchell said. “It was just draining on my energy just because you can’t sit in your room and cheer for me and then do all these different things.”

“I’m not saying specifically every fan, but I just feel like it was a lot of things. A [Utah] state senator [Stuart Adams] saying I need to get educated on my own Black history. Seeing Black kids getting bullied because of their skin color. Seeing a little girl [Isabella Tichenor] hang herself because she’s being bullied.”

“Man, it was just one thing after another. And I will say, it’s not the only place it happens.”

Donovan Mitchell Happy To Be In Cleveland

Mitchell described a specific instance when he was pulled over by a cop – for an unknown reason – and received some “attitude” from the officer.

“But as far as Utah, it became a lot to have to deal with on a nightly basis. I got pulled over once. I got an attitude from a cop until I gave him my ID. And that forever made me wonder what happens to the young Black kid in Utah that doesn’t have that power to just be like, ‘This is who I am.’ And that was one of the things for me that I took to heart.”

All of that is in the past now for Mitchell, who is just happy to see more “people that look like me” in Cleveland and at Cavaliers’ games.

Written by Mark Harris


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  1. I’m sure having all those White people paying good money to watch you play was a tough deal. This guy sounds like a racist. I hope his observation about feeling way more comfortable being around his own kind in Cleveland has led him to purchase living quarters in an all black neighborhood. Gotta stay away from all those evil crackers.

  2. “But as far as Utah, it became a lot to have to deal with on a nightly basis. I got pulled over once…”

    It sounds to me like anecdotal incidents rather than nightly occurrences. He details a cop being a dick one time while being pulled over. He mentions a state senator clapping back at him over CRT. He mentions a black girl committing suicide over bullying. Are those the highlights over a 5-year span?

    By the way, worked in Salt Lake for several months in 2019. Sleepy downtown, not a ton of nightlife, kinda on the bummy side with all the homeless. However, beautiful mountain scenery and not too far from Las Vegas. Honestly, not the worst place to live.

  3. “I got an attitude from a cop until I gave him my ID.” Maybe, if you would have provided him your license as part of your traffic violation the first time he ask you, he probably would not have got an attitude with you.

    Typical narcissistic athlete to play that “do you know I am” attitude.

  4. A fabulous player I though DM was smarter than this. A lot of cops here give people “attitude” my own kids experienced it. This is not proof of racism but if you want to see everything through the lens of race, you will. Karl Malone was/is still practically a god here. Wonder what he thinks?

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