‘Aight’: Utah bill honors Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell after harsh Shaq comment

Local Politics

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell looks on in the first half of a preseason NBA basketball game against the Sacramento Kings Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Is Utah Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell greater than NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal? Utah lawmakers believe so.

On Tuesday, Representative Kera Birkeland (R-Morgan) proposed H.R. 3, a “House Resolution honoring Donovan Mitchell over Shaquille O’Neal.”

According to the bill’s text, the resolution “recognizes the exemplary service of Donovan Mitchell to the Utah Jazz and the Utah community; and suggests consideration of making the ‘Spida’ the official state arachnid.”

“Spida” is Mitchell’s nickname.

In mid-January, after the Jazz won their seventh game in a row, O’Neal said on the TNT broadcast that while Mitchell was one of his favorite players, he didn’t have what it takes to the next level.

Mitchell had a one word answer for Shaq – “Aight.”

“In Utah, we support our players when they face awkward abuse during post-game interviews disguised as pep talks,” the bill reads. “The claim by Shaquille O’Neal (Shaq) on January 21, 2021, that All-Star Donovan Mitchell Jr. (Donovan) doesn’t have what it takes to get to the next level is even less accurate than his 50.4% playoff free-throw percentage (slightly worse than Donovan’s 88.1%).”

The same night that Shaq made the comment, Mitchell made his 600th three-pointer earlier in his career than any other player.

H.B. 3 goes on to highlight all of the ways in which Mitchell is better than O’Neal, including his SPIDACARES foundation that empowers women to follow the example set by his mother and sister.

The bill closes by adding that the “House of Representatives also recognizes the tremendous impact Shaquille O’Neal, one of the all-time NBA greats, has made in communities throughout the United States through generous donations of his time and resources.”

“Aight. That’s it,” H.B. 3 ends.

As of late Tuesday morning, the bill has passed the House as Rep. Birkeland wore a referee shirt and Speaker Brad Wilson donned a Mitchell jersey.

Read the full text of the bill here:

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Glen Mills

Chief Political Correspondent

 Glen is honored to be delivering the news of the day every weeknight at 5, 6, and 10 in his home state. He is an award-winning veteran journalist, who joined the ABC4 News team as a weekend anchor in June 2013. Over the years, he held various positions at the station as he worked his way up to the main anchor chair. He also serves as our Senior Political Correspondent and hosts Inside Utah Politics, which airs every Sunday. The Utah Headliners Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists has recognized Glen as the best government and military television reporter in the state. Before returning home to Utah, he spent 11 1/2 years developing his journalism skills in other states. He held various on-air and management positions at KPVI in Pocatello, Idaho, WGBA in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and KKCO in Grand Junction, Colorado during that time. Read More...