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Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert offer support and friendship to Utah teen who had been bullied

by Aaron Falk

After a Pleasant Grove, Utah, high school student became the victim of bullying, vandalism, and racism, two of the Utah Jazz’s biggest stars made sure the teenager knew he didn’t deserve any of it.

“It’s just not right,” Donovan Mitchell said.

So Mitchell and Rudy Gobert set out trying to make things right for Luc Holdaway. They exchanged text messages and offered him their support. And on Monday night, the high school senior sat courtside to watch Mitchell and Gobert take on the Minnesota Timberwolves.

“It’s a great thing everybody’s stepping in, to be able to show him support,” Mitchell said. “Because that should never happen to a kid, to a person.”

Holdaway’s story was reported by local news outlets last week. The teenager woke up and found his car covered in manure, the latest in a string of vandalism at their home. His father, Seth Holdaway, later told a television reporter that his son had also been subjected to racist slurs.

“Especially when I found out that there were racial comments involved, for me, that hit a little bit more,” Mitchell said. “One, just because of what we’ve been going through in this country. Two, that’s not right. You can never be comfortable calling someone a word like that.”

Mitchell said he believes the racism and bullying Luc was forced to endure is all too prevalent.

“It’s not just about what happened here,” Mitchell said. “It’s really [an issue] in our country and the world really. Just bullies in general. … And you think, if you start at that age and start that early, it can kind of grow into much worse things.”

So Mitchell asked for help finding Luc’s contact and then sent him a few text messages last week. “At first, I didn’t think it was really him,” Luc said. But soon Luc realized he really was texting with the star.

“It’s a little overwhelming,” Seth Holdaway said. “But I think the big thing is you feel that there’s so much more good in the world. For people who are so high-profile as them and have so much going on, to take a few minutes and reach out to somebody who has had a hard time, that means a lot.”

Luc put it this way: “It just felt like a lot of people cared.”

Luc brought his father and four of his close friends to Monday’s game.

“Being able to share it with others, it means more than it just being me here,” the teen said.

Meanwhile, others in the community have also reached out to the Holdaways offering support and encouragement.

 “Whatever support he gets,” Mitchell said, “he deserves all of it.”

 

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