Donovan Mitchell shows up to NBA bubble news conference with bulletproof vest: 'Am I next?'

Jason Owens
·2-min read

NBA players vowed to use the NBA’s bubble restart to speak for social justice.

Donovan Mitchell showed exactly what that looks like during Thursday’s bubble premiere.

Mitchell’s Utah Jazz scored a dramatic win over the New Orleans Pelicans in the first game at Disney World. He took a bulletproof vest to the platform of his victor’s news conference.

Why?

Let Mitchell explain.

‘Am I next?’

“I have pretty much every possible name of everyone that’s died of police brutality and police violence,” Mitchell told Turner Sports’ Taylor Rooks as he showed off his unorthodox postgame attire. “There was a quote that said ‘am I next?’ on the back of somebody’s jersey. It doesn’t matter how much money you have or how famous you are, as an African-American male that’s who we are.”

Mitchell’s statement arrived after Jazz and Pelicans players all took a knee during the national anthem prior to the game.

Donovan Mitchell made crystal clear what the athlete protest movement is about. (Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images)
Donovan Mitchell made crystal clear what the athlete protest movement is about. (Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images)

This is the message

Since Colin Kaepernick first started kneeling in a San Francisco 49ers uniform, the message of protesting police brutality against Black people has been distorted into a false narrative about the military and patriotism.

With his bulletproof vest, Mitchell made the message crystal clear. Black people in America are tired of being scared for their lives because of their skin color.

“It doesn’t matter what your job is, what your name is,” Mitchell continued. “Being able to wear a bulletproof vest just shows we kind of have our hands up as well, just kinda like hands up, don’t shoot. We’re tired of seeing this. ... We’re sick and tired of being afraid.”

Mitchell was one of the first voices to speak in the NBA’s bubble restart. He won’t be the last.

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