Donovan Mitchell ‘honored’ by Utah House resolution inspired by Shaq’s criticism
Shaquille O’Neal ignited a firestorm with some hypercritical comments last week about Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell, and politicians in the team’s home state weren’t about to allow the incident pass without response.
On Tuesday, House Resolution 3 was introduced by Rep. Kera Birkeland, R-Morgan to recognize “the exemplary service of Donovan Mitchell to the Utah Jazz and the Utah community; and suggests consideration of making the ‘Spida’ (Mitchell’s nickname) the official state arachnid.”
House Speaker Brad Wilson even wore a Mitchell jersey during the proceedings.
Imma just leave this hear because it’s brilliant. We love @spidadmitchell https://t.co/R6TzXdGpy2— Jimmy Henderson (@jimmy_the_IV) January 27, 2021
“In Utah, we support our players when they face awkward abuse during postgame interviews disguised as pep talks,” the resolution stated.
Birkeland, sporting a ref jersey on the House floor, said she believed “it is appropriate for the great state of Utah to award Shaquille O’Neal with a technical foul” before adding in some potshots at the NBA legend over his acting career.
The resolution passed in the Utah House of Representatives by a 67-5 margin.
Resolution passed. @spidadmitchell gets love from the Utah legislature. pic.twitter.com/HIqnoc5IXu— HaileyHiggins (@HaileyHiggins) January 26, 2021
The bizarre spectacle Tuesday was spawned by how O’Neal made the specious case last week on TNT that Mitchell doesn’t have what it takes to be a true superstar.
After Mitchell scored 36 points to lead the Jazz to a win over the New Orleans Pelicans, O’Neal relayed what he said earlier in the broadcast, which led to an incredibly awkward exchange.
This exchange between Shaq and Spida— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 22, 2021
(via @nbaontnt) pic.twitter.com/tiNRhn7ofZ
“I said tonight that you are one of my favorite players, but you don’t have what it takes to get to the next level,” O’Neal said. “I said it on purpose because I wanted you to hear it. What do you have to say about that?”
“Aight,” Mitchell replied.”… That’s it.”
When asked about Utah legislators having his back, Mitchell was unsurprisingly flattered but confused.
“I looked at it in a different light,” Mitchell said, per KSL.com. “Growing up being a kid you always want to be that guy that’s beloved and I really appreciate the support. I think it’s special and it’s an honor. It’s kind of funny.”
But he did have a question: “Is it like the state spider?” Mitchell asked. “I don’t know how that works, to be honest with you. I was asking around, we don’t really know.”
Still, Mitchell, who continues to be targeted by O’Neal despite widespread backlash in a one-sided feud, appreciates the gesture.
“I’m just blessed that people think of me that way,” Mitchell said. “I’m just honored.”