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If you are not, by nature, a planner — someone who scopes out friends’ and family members’ schedules and lines up outings for off days weeks in advance — you can find yourself in a tough spot come the Fourth of July. You’ve been so caught up in your own stuff, so bogged down in the minutiae of the day-to-day, that all of a sudden you wake up and realize that you have no grilling materials on hand and no invitation to a shindig on the docket. In such a situation, you might find yourself feeling desperate for a place to go; in such a situation, trying to crowdsource a destination via social media, not always a viable plan of attack, might start seeming like a sound solution.
Especially if, say, you have more than 300,000 Twitter followers and you are the beloved golden child of the city in which you live.
In which Donovan Mitchell shoots his shot
And so, around noon on Independence Day, a cookout-seeking Donovan Mitchell spoke to the people:
And the people of Salt Lake City spoke back, flooding the rising Utah Jazz star’s mentions with addresses, photos of pools with giant waterslides, food on the grill, drinks on ice and promises of good times ahead, should the 21-year-old elect to come through.
So, y’know, he came through:
The lesson: Donovan Mitchell will pull up if your party seems fun
Evidently, so appreciative was the sophomore-to-be of the outpouring of invitations that he may have made a whole day out of pool-hopping and plate-making:
Giving yourself the chance to hit multiple pools, sample the fare of multiple spreads, and give a wider swath of Jazz fans a thrill? I’m not sure exactly what the definition is, but it doesn’t sound like a rookie move to me.
Utah loves Donovan Mitchell, and he is responding in kind
That Mitchell would spend his holiday showing up at fans’ houses to press the flesh, grab something to eat and play some pool basketball might seem kind of surprising. After all, we’re talking about an NBA star on the rise, fresh off a remarkable rookie season in which he averaged a team-leading 20.5 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game for a Jazz squad that surprised many by bouncing back from the loss to All-Star forward Gordon Hayward to not only make the playoffs, but knock off the starry Oklahoma City Thunder in Round 1; this is not necessarily somebody you expect to actually come by when you say you’ll leave the door open for him.
And yet, as Mitchell prepares for his second pro season, he seems intent on embedding himself in the Salt Lake City community — a process that prominently features getting to know the people he’s playing in front of, and letting them get to know him. From Eric Woodyard of the Deseret News:
On a hot, 92-degree summer afternoon, Donovan Mitchell pulled up to the Park Place parking lot — adjacent to Vivint Arena — on Monday to surprise everyone participating in the Jazz’s 3-on-3 Tournament as part of the Summer League festivities.
The crowd grew so thick that security had to clear a path for Mitchell to skirt off in his stylish white Audi ride.
“I just wanted to come by,” Mitchell explained, before taking off. “I saw that it was here and I thought it was pretty cool. If I was a kid, I would die if my hero came to this. I kind of wanted to be able to do that.”
It’s a pretty cool way for a star player to think about what kind of space he wants to occupy in the life and environment of his adopted city. And if it also gets you a ride on a sweet waterslide and a good burger, well, so much the better.
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