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Donovan Mitchell was an NBA All-Star this season but got sick over the All-Star Weekend and instead of being able to play in the game or take part in the festivities, ended up watching it all on TV from his hotel room in Cleveland.

Mitchell said that his non-COVID-19-related illness wasn’t anything bad — more of a cold than anything. He’s feeling fine now and ready to get back to playing, but he joked on Thursday that maybe he should have played in the game, if for no other reason than to weaken some of his Western Conference foes, like Stephen Curry or Devin Booker, who did play in the All-Star Game.

“The league didn’t think it was a good idea, if you’re not feeling great, to come in and neither did I. I didn’t think it was smart,” Mitchell said, before joking about hindsight being 20-20. “Looking back at it, if you could find a way to get Steph sick and Book sick ... nahhh I’m playing. ... It just didn’t make sense to go out there, it would have been selfish on my part.”

All laughs and jokes aside, Mitchell was disappointed that he couldn’t be a part of the NBA’s 75th anniversary celebration, which included many of the NBA’s greatest players in history being in the arena at the same time on Sunday night.

Rested and rejuvenated, Jazz ready for 24-game stretch run
Rudy Gobert shows off flashy spin move, but Stephen Curry steals the show in NBA All-Star Game

“Just being able to be around excellence is huge,” Mitchell said. “I’ve never actually physically met Michael Jordan. ... You kind of get FOMO (fear of missing out) a little bit.”

See, Mitchell originally thought that he was going to be drafted by the Charlotte Hornets, the team that Jordan owns. He was pretty much told it was a sure thing. He was supposed to go back to Charlotte for a second predraft workout, which Jordan was going to attend, but that second workout didn’t end up happening and then Mitchell was drafted by the Nuggets and sent to the Jazz on draft night.

Mitchell, like most basketball fans and basketball players, holds Jordan in high regard and he’s one of the many players that Mitchell idolized growing up. So it stung quite a bit when Mitchell saw Jordan step onto the court at halftime of the All-Star Game and then shake hands with many of the current players in attendance. Mitchell wanted to be one of those players.

Maybe next time.

New with the Jazz

As Jazz head for the homestretch, can they still become an NBA title-ready team?

Stat of the week

The Utah Jazz have 24 games left in the 2021-22 season. Of their remaining games, 14 of them will be on the road and eight of those road games will be against teams that are either playoff-bound or fighting for a playoff spot.

This week on ‘Unsalvageable’

Check out “Unsalvageable: A Utah Jazz Podcast,” hosted by Deseret News Utah Jazz beat reporter Sarah Todd and lifelong Jazz fan Greg Foster (no, not that Greg Foster). This week the crew talks about what the Jazz need to do to prove that they’re a serious team that can contend for a title and this weekend they’ll answer listener questions.

New episodes come out every week. You can listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Overcast and anywhere else you stream podcasts.

From the archives

Rudy Gobert talks longevity, being a fan of Nikola Jokic and ... shooting 3s
What Utah Jazz set out to do during NBA All-Star break

This week in Jazz history

On Feb. 21, 1993, John Stockton and Karl Malone were named co-MVPs of the All-Star Game that was held in Salt Lake City at the Delta Center. Twenty years later, the 2023 All-Star Game will return to Utah and be held at Vivint Arena.

Extra points

  • Did a future Utah Jazz jersey just get leaked? (Deseret News)
  • What will All-Star weekend look like in Salt Lake City? (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Danuel House is trying to purify the Jazz’s drinking water ... as it were (Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Donovan Mitchell knows what is at stake for the Jazz this season (The Athletic)

Around the league

Ukrainian NBA players release statement condemning Russian invasion of their country.

Knicks’ Derrick Rose sidelined after foot procedure.

Up next

Feb. 25 | 7 p.m. | Utah Jazz vs. Dallas Mavericks | AT&T SportsNet

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Feb. 27 | 1:30 p.m. | Utah Jazz @ Phoenix Suns | ABC

March 2 | 6 p.m. | Utah Jazz @ Houston Rockets | AT&T SportsNet

March 4 | 6 p.m. | Utah Jazz @ New Orleans Pelicans | AT&T SportsNet

March 6 | 5 p.m. | Utah Jazz @ Oklahoma City Thunder | AT&T SportsNet

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