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Donovan Mitchell on skipping second Jazz flight: ‘I just needed that day, mentally’

The Jazz’s flight landed after a collision with birds caused major damage Tuesday. Players described fearing for their lives. Thankfully, the plane landed safely in Utah. The team took another flight to Memphis later in the day.

Donovan Mitchell wasn’t on it.

Mitchell detailed his fear of flying following a 2017 pre-draft workout with the Kings.

Sean Cunningham of ABC10:

It obviously remains an issue.

Mitchell, via Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune:

“I immediately got scared as s—, because I hate flying in general, and it didn’t sound good,” Mitchell said.

“… I texted my mom, my dad, my sister, just letting them know, ‘This could be it.’ That’s a scary thought. Just kind of saying, ‘I love you guys.’ Literally writing what could have been your last words. That was, for me, the scariest part.”

“I just needed that day, mentally. It was just like, I can’t make that trip, not for a for a game. Some things are just bigger than the game of basketball itself. And that right there was it for me,” Mitchell said. “Everybody kind of has their different things — mine happens to be flying, as you all know. I’ve never had a situation like that — I’ve had bad turbulence days, but I’ve never had a situation like that. And I just needed to take that time, because it just wasn’t feeling or sitting right with me to go on the trip, and my teammates and my coaches and everybody respected that. I appreciate the support.”

“I know I have a job to do. I understand that that comes with the job. I took the time that I needed to kind of just mentally get myself in a good place. I’ll be fine come Sunday,” he said. “… I understand I have a job to do. I can’t pull a John Madden and drive everywhere — much as I would love to. I can’t, I understand I’ve got to do that.

Mental-health days are important. (Less consequentially, the Jazz beat the Grizzlies on Wednesday.)

Mitchell has conquered numerous obstacles in his life. Good for him persevering through another.

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