It was one of the signature moments of Donovan Mitchell’s rookie campaign: in front of the world, holding aloft the Dunk Contest trophy after throwing down four impressive dunks.
The world won’t be seeing a repeat in 2019.
Mitchell won’t participate in the 2019 All-Star Dunk Contest in Charlotte, North Carolina, he confirmed to reporters at the Jazz’s shootaround on Friday morning.
Mitchell said it was a tough decision.
“It really stems from when I got hurt, the three different times I got hurt this year. I remember last year when I came back from All-Star, I was tired,” Mitchell said. “Fortunately we had some days where I could rest, but there would be days where I wouldn’t go to the gym and I would just sleep and get rest."
Mitchell says he wants to compete again in the dunk contest in the future, but just not this year.
"For me, it’s tough, it’s one of my favorite events. It is my favorite event in the entire weekend,” Mitchell said. “I’d love to do it again. I think with everything that happened this last season, I wanted to experience an All-Star without doing it, just to see how it feels and to compare it to last year. It’s all a learning experience for me.”
“I just want to be ready physically and mentally for my team,” Mitchell said. “Obviously, with the year that we’ve had, we haven’t really taken off from the beginning like we thought we would. For the second half of the season, I think it would be better if I rest and just mentally be focused for the second half.”
Mitchell, in his second NBA season, will be eligible to play in the Rising Stars Challenge, which is the tipoff event of All-Star Weekend.
Alec Burks and Rodney Hood well received in return to Utah
Alec Burks and Rodney Hood both received nice ovations from the home crowd as they were announced as part of Cleveland’s starting lineup on Friday as part of their first return to Utah since being included in separate trades.
That wasn’t all the Jazz did to commemorate their return: A tribute video was shown on the big screens in a first quarter timeout. And in the Cavs' locker room, the Jazz put up a poster of both players with “Welcome Back” written.
“That’s very nice of the Jazz organization to do that,” Cavaliers coach Larry Drew said.
Burks and Hood both struggled in the game, though. Hood shot just 1 for 6 in 17 minutes, while Burks shot 3 of 11 and added six rebounds in his 24 minutes on the court.