Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell receives NBA award, recognized for efforts to advance social justice


SALT LAKE CITY, UT – MAY 06: Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz reacts to his basket in the second half during Game Four of Round Two of the 2018 NBA Playoffs against the Houston Rockets at Vivint Smart Home Arena on May 6, 2018 in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Rockets beat the Jazz 100-87. 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 Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – First, he got a bill to highlight his greatness. Now, he has received recognition from the NBA for his dedication to the community.

After receiving some harsh comments from NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal, Utah legislatures proposed a resolution to honor the Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell over Shaq. 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.”

Mitchell has now received the Offseason NBA Cares Community Assist Award in recognition for his continued efforts to advance social justice and champion education between the 2019-20 and 2020-21 NBA seasons.

This is the fourth year the NBA and Kaiser Permanente – America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans – have presented the offseason award to an NBA player for his impactful work from the end of the regular season to the start of the following season.

The NBA explains why Mitchell won the award:

Mitchell is committed to providing educational access and support for young people of all backgrounds, particularly from communities of color.  In December, the Mitchell family pledged $12 million to Greenwich Country Day School, Donovan and his sister Jordan’s alma mater and the school where their mother, Nicole, taught for more than a decade.  The contribution was the largest single donation in the school’s history and will be used to create the Mitchell Family Scholarship Fund to aid students from pre-K-12th grade, the Nicole Mitchell Faculty Support Fund to assist teachers who demonstrate the same passion for teaching as Nicole, as well as the new D.O.N.! The Determination Over Negativity Mitchell Family Athletic Center.  This past summer, Mitchell also donated the proceeds of his Adidas D.O.N. Issue #2 sneakers to support the education of Jacob Blake’s children, students of color at the University of Louisville and teachers at preschools in Connecticut and the Bronx, totaling more than $300,000 in scholarships and academic assistance. 

Following his unwavering commitment to speak out against racial injustice during the 2019-20 NBA season restart, Mitchell continued the conversation during the offseason, joining then vice-presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, Portland’s CJ McCollum and Philadelphia’s Tobias Harris for a discussion on educational, economic and social inequities.  Mitchell was also named to the inaugural board of the National Basketball Social Justice Coalition, which will leverage the game’s influence to raise awareness, educate and advocate for meaningful reform, and regularly gives back to those most in need through his SPIDACARES organization.

“I’m honored to receive the NBA Community Assist Award. We, as athletes, have a responsibility to do our part to give back to our communities and raise the bar for the next generation,” says Mitchell.  “Not too long ago I was one of those kids that looked up to professional athletes, and I recognize how blessed I am to be in this position to give back to the multiple communities that have contributed to my growth not only as an athlete but as a person. My goal is to continue to inspire and encourage youth, from coast to coast with an emphasis on the importance of education.”

Mitchell was presented the award during a special virtual ceremony with league, Kaiser Permanente, and Jazz officials, including the team’s new Governor Ryan Smith. Members of The Children’s Village were also in attendance for the Monday ceremony.

During the Jazz’s home game against the Dallas Mavericks on Friday, Mitchell will also be recognized.

In addition, Kaiser Permanente and the NBA will donate $10,000 on Mitchell’s behalf to The Children’s Village in New York.

The NBA Cares Community Assist Award presented by Kaiser Permanente recognizes an NBA player each month who best reflects the passion that the league and its players share for giving back to their communities. It honors the standard set by NBA Legend David Robinson, who improved the community piece by piece. At the end of the 2020-21 regular season, the Seasonlong NBA Cares Community Assist Award winner will be announced. To learn more, visit https://cares.nba.com/.

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