If there was any doubt about the special character of one person, Donovan Mitchell, he put that aside on Saturday afternoon.
During the Utah Jazz Open Practice on The Road To Tipoff, presented by Udo, the thousands of fans watching saw something they had never seen before: Mitchell wearing the number 22 on his jersey. ‘coaching.
Immediately, questions started pouring in in Zoom chat about why the number changed and what it meant. As speculation started to catch on social media, a response never became official until its post-workout presser.
“I just wanted to pay homage to Aaron [Lowe] and Ty [Jordan] my way. ”Mitchell told reporters after the game.
For those who don’t know, Lowe and Jordan, members of the University of Utah football program, have tragically passed away in the past 10 months.
Jordan was a freshman when he returned home to Texas after an All-American season while on vacation. Sadly, an accidental self-inflicted gunshot in the abdomen on Christmas night ended her life.
One of his closest friends on the team was Lowe, a compatriot from Texas who was the first recipient of the Ty Jordan Memorial Scholarship last August. Tragically, Lowe’s life was taken while attending a party a week ago in Salt Lake City.
Jordan wore the number 22 last season before Lowe wore the number this season to honor his friend.
This isn’t the first time Mitchell has done something in honor of someone who is no longer with us.
In October 2018, Mitchell wore shoes in honor of former University of Utah track and field athlete Lauren McCluskey, a woman who was shot and killed on campus days earlier.
With the Utes football program being so severely affected by the devastation, Mitchell took it upon himself to honor both players as well as the University of Utah. While he won’t be changing his number with the Jazz anytime soon, Mitchell wanted people to know that the state of Utah is family and that they will always support each other, and it was his way of being part of it.