Donovan Mitchell Talks Jazz Fan Reputations, Potential Impact on Adding Free Agents

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIMay 29, 2021

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) goes to the basket as Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) watches during the second half of Game 2 of their NBA basketball first-round playoff series Wednesday, May 26, 2021, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
AP Photo/Rick Bowmer

Utah Jazz shooting guard Donovan Mitchell addressed reporters Friday in the aftermath of the verbal abuse Memphis Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant's family endured during Utah's home playoff win over Memphis on Wednesday in Salt Lake City's Vivint Arena.

ESPN's Nick Friedell relayed Mitchell's remarks, which touched on the reputation of Jazz fans and how they're perceived by other players across the league: 

Nick Friedell @NickFriedell

"There's a rep, let's call a spade a spade. There is a rep that this happens solely here and as we've seen there's incidents that happen everywhere ... I don't know, but I don't think it will necessarily have an impact on guys' decisions, whether they want to come here or not."

Nick Friedell @NickFriedell

"It's beyond unfortunate and it needs to change. It happened here. Trae got spit on in New York, Russ getting popcorn thrown at him, and we obviously hear what's going on in Boston too. Enough is enough, man.I feel like banning them is great but I don't think they should be back"

Tee Morant, Ja's father, spoke with ESPN's Tim MacMahon about what he and his wife, Jamie, experienced.

"Tee Morant said one fan made a sexually explicit remark to his wife, Jamie. Tee Morant, who was sitting a couple of seats over, confronted the man before security deescalated the situation, ejecting the Jazz fan.

"According to Tee Morant, another Jazz fan told him, 'I'll put a nickel in your back and watch you dance, boy.' Several other Jazz fans, who had been enjoying good-spirited trash talk with the Morants and their family friends, confronted that fan and alerted security. Tee Morant said he was shocked that the Jazz fan, who was ejected, made such a comment with the man's young daughter by his side.

"The third fan who was ejected yelled at Jamie Morant, 'Shut the f--k up, b---h,' Tee Morant said."

As Mitchell referenced, NBA stars have been subjected to bad fan behavior. A fan threw popcorn on Washington Wizards point guard Russell Westbrook in Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center, and another spit on Atlanta Hawks point guard Trae Young in New York's Madison Square Garden.

Multiple Jazz fans have received lifetime bans from Vivint Arena for verbal abuse hurled at Westbrook when he was a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Mitchell also tweeted about the incidents involving the Morants following the matchup, which Utah won 141-129 to knot the Western Conference first-round series at one game apiece.

Donovan Mitchell @spidadmitchell

I’m glad those fans were banned and they should never be allowed back.... this is ridiculous!!! The fact that these words are being thrown around to players and there families is ridiculous! Enough is enough smh! https://t.co/rfzj0T1W1r

The three fans implicated in making derogatory comments toward Morant's family have been banned from Vivint Arena for life.