The Utah Jazz’s history is immortalized on the streets the run north and east of Vivint Smart Home Arena, where John Stockton and Karl Malone drives intersect.
But how do you get from the past to the present?
Maybe a bridge will do the trick.
On Tuesday, Donovan Mitchell Bridge, a pedestrian walkway over 100 South, was unveiled at the Gateway Mall. Artists painted a mural of Mitchell’s likeness on the bridge and turned the crosswalks on the intersection below into an homage to the Jazz.
“This is incredible,” Mitchell said, with a few hundred fans cheering. “It’s humbling.”
Mitchell leads the Jazz (44-30) in scoring, averaging 23.4 points per game in his second NBA season.
“Donovan has invigorated our sports scene with his play,” Salt Lake City Councilwoman Ana Valdemoros said. “More importantly, Donovan has added so much to our community through his leadership and personal efforts to be engaged.”
Mitchell has become a fan favorite because of how active he is in the community, whether it’s showing up at local university football games, supporting high school basketball players, or empowering young women through his SPIDACARES foundation.
“It’s the way you show your big heart and watch out for people who need help that is so inspiring for us,” Vicki Varela, the Utah Office of Tourism and Film’s managing director, told Mitchell. “And that gives us all such joy to be here together honoring you.”
Mitchell thanked Jazz head coach Quin Snyder and nearly every one of his teammates by name for their support and willingness to embrace him.
He also thanked the fans across the state.
“I didn’t really know what to expect the first time I came here,” he said. “I’m from New York. You walk by, you bump somebody and they give you a look. There’s always an attitude. You walk around the streets [here] and everybody’s happy and smiling.
“It’s easy to give back to people who are so genuine and kind. That’s really where it stems from. You make it easy, not just for me, but for all of us to be so loyal to this city.”