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Thank You, Donovan

Ryan Kostecka
Digital Content Writer

45. Spida. Donovan. It's been an honor.

Farewell to the superstar with a huge heart. 

Since Mitchell joined the Jazz, the three-time All-Star has embraced the organization, and not just Salt Lake City, but the entire state as a whole.

“The Jazz had so many great moments with Donovan over the past five years as he developed into a perennial All-Star,” Owner Ryan Smith said. “But just as important was the lasting impact he made in Utah. He is an amazing human and touched the lives of so many through his engagement in the community. Our entire organization wishes him every success in his future. Once a Jazzman, always a Jazzman.”

The connection between Mitchell and the organization began before the team ever acquired the guard.

As the Jazz prepared for the 2017 NBA Draft, Mitchell took part in one of the team’s first Draft workouts of the offseason.

“I wanted to work out for the Jazz. … I love the organization,” Michell said in 2017. 

BROOKLYN, NY - JUNE 22: Donovan Mitchell poses for a portrait after being selected thirteen overall by the Utah Jazz during the 2017 NBA Draft on June 22, 2017 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Steve Freeman/NBAE via Getty Images)

As a Jazzman, Mitchell’s accolades are inarguable, as one of only two players from the 2017 Draft to be named an All-Star in three of their first five seasons (Boston's Jayson Tatum is the other).

He has averaged 23.9 points, 4.5 assists, 4.2 rebounds, and 1.3 steals per game on 44.1% shooting from the floor and 36.1% from three-point territory. Among his career accolades, Mitchell won the 2018 Slam Dunk contest, was First-Team All-Rookie, and named the Western Conference Player of the Month in December 2021.

Quickly climbing up the franchise record books, Mitchell currently ranks No. 8 in points scored (8,234), No. 4 in points per game (23.9), No. 2 in made three-pointers (958), No. 9 in minutes per game (33.7), No. 8 in assists per game (4.5), No. 9 in steals per game (1.3), and No. 2 in usage percentage (31.4).

For postseason totals, he ranks No. 4 in points (1,073), No. 7 in assists (175), and No. 9 in steals (45). He also owns Utah's all-time single-season three-point record, knocking down 232 last season.

Throughout his five seasons in Utah, Mitchell played in 345 regular season games (337 starts) and 39 postseason games (all starts). Since he joined the team, the Jazz have compiled a 218-127 record (.632 winning percentage), while advancing to the playoffs every season of his career.

A heart as big as his superstar status, Mitchell has championed social justice and education, using his platform to speak out against racism and inequity. 

More than anything, he backed up his words with generosity. 

He pledged $12 million to Greenwich Country Day (his alma mater and the school where his mother taught for over a decade). He gave all the proceeds from sales of his Adidas basketball sneakers D.O.N. Issue #2 x Louisville (up to $200,000) to provide scholarships and academic initiatives for black students at the University of Louisville.

He was awarded the Offseason NBA Cares Community Assist Award for his work in the summer of 2020.

CHARLOTTE, NC - FEBRUARY 15: Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz participates in the 2019 NBA Cares All-Star Day of Service Classroom Central Packing Project on February 15, 2019 at Bojangles Coliseum in Charlotte, North Carolina. 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Chris Marion/NBAE via Getty Images)

Mitchell is one of the most beloved players in Jazz history and is well-known for signing autographs before and after games. Instead of rushing to the locker room after the final buzzer, he would often linger on the court to ensure fans got the signature they were so desperately seeking. 

His work with children is almost second-to-none in the league. It's not rare for Mitchell to pull a fan from the stands and have them pass him the ball throughout warmups, giving the child a once-in-a-lifetime experience. 

SALT LAKE CITY, UT - FEBRUARY 11: Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz signs his shoes for a young fan before the game against the Orlando Magic on February 11, 2022 at vivint.SmartHome Arena in Salt Lake City, Utah. 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images)

While Mitchell's departure will undoubtedly leave a hole in the hearts of Jazz fans everywhere, his legacy will continue to live on. He’ll forever be a Jazzman. 

Gabby Stockard | Utah Jazz

In a deal that sent shockwaves throughout the league, Utah traded Mitchell to the Cleveland Cavaliers for guards Ochai Agbaji (OCH-eye uh-BAH-gee), Collin Sexton, forward Lauri Markkanen (LAU-ree MARK-a-nin), future first round picks, and future first round draft swaps.

"It was clear that in order to optimize our opportunity to create a team that could truly contend and establish sustained success, we needed to transition our roster,” said Jazz CEO of Basketball Danny Ainge. “In trading Rudy and now Donovan, it was a rare opportunity to maximize our ability to get quality talent and picks to best position us moving forward. We have a plan in place to help us assemble the championship team our fans deserve. It will take time to craft our roster. We all understand the work ahead and are committed to our vision."

“Ochai, Lauri and Collin are exciting young players, and we’re thrilled to add them to our roster,” Jazz General Manager Justin Zanik added. “We believe that they fit the Jazz culture and hard-nosed, competitive brand of basketball we’ve built here in Utah. They give us versatility and athleticism on both ends of the floor as we grow toward the future. We look forward to our fans getting to know them.”