The Utah Jazz are going home after losing Game 7 of their first round series against the Denver Nuggets. It was a thrilling game, one that came down to a Mike Conley shot at the end of regulation that rimmed out, fell to the floor, and punched Denver’s ticket to the second round.
Immediately following the game, an emotional Donovan Mitchell couldn’t help but hitting the deck and laying on the ground in an apparent attempt to process that the season came to an end. This led to a really cool moment where the first person to run over to and console him was Jamal Murray of the Nuggets, the player with whom Mitchell has gone shot-for-shot for much of this series.
Pretty cool moment between Jamal Murray and Donovan Mitchell post-game pic.twitter.com/dSws41ui6M
— Jackson Frank (@jackfrank_jjf) September 2, 2020
Murray praised Mitchell after the game and said that the two “bring the best out of each other.” The Jazz star also spoke to the media, but took an interesting approach, one that touched on the current moment in the United States where racial injustice is front of mind. As he explained, while Mitchell was feeling pain, it was trivial compared to those who have lost a loved one to acts of police brutality feel far too frequently.
“This is a game. People lost their family members to police brutality and racism and s—. I can only imagine. The way that I’m feeling right now is nothing compared to that.”
—Donovan Mitchell after losing Game 7 pic.twitter.com/7FknsLtStX
— ESPN (@espn) September 2, 2020
“The pain that’s on my face right now and the way I feel, I can only imagine what’s going through these victims’ families,” Mitchell said. “And I know I’m probably gonna go back there and cry again and sh*t, but I just wanna go out and just say look, man, this is a game. People lost their family members to police brutality and racism and sh*t. I can only imagine. So I wanted to say that, I wanted to get that out there, because the way that I’m feeling right now is nothing compared to that. And I appreciate the NBA and everybody in this league for continuing to push that message, because it’s not stopping.”
Basketball players have used their time in the Bubble to keep individuals like Breonna Taylor and George Floyd (among numerous others) in the national conscience, going as far as to strike last week in an attempt to get owners to commit more resources to battling systemic oppression following the shooting of Jacob Blake. While it is good to see Mitchell continue to use his platform up until the very end for these purposes, it is nevertheless equal parts dispiriting and maddening that he — along with the other members of the NBA family who opt to do this — has to in the country that claims to be the greatest in the world.