Donovan Mitchell to fly with Jazz again after emergency landing: 'I've calmed down, and I'll be good'

Ryan Young
·Writer
·3-min read

Donovan Mitchell was, understandably, shook up after the Utah Jazz’s charter plane was forced to make an emergency landing on Tuesday.

So much so, in fact, that he stayed behind when the rest of the team hopped on a new plane to make the trip to Memphis for Wednesday’s game against the Grizzlies.

"There was a point where you just felt like this could be it — and the fact that it's out of your control," Mitchell said, via ESPN. "You're kind of just watching it all go down, and you really don't know what's going to happen next. Telling everybody that you love them, and you don't know if it's the last time that you're going to be able to say that, really puts life and everything into perspective for you."

Jazz plane makes emergency landing

The Jazz’s chartered Delta flight was forced to make an emergency landing and return back to Salt Lake City after it collided with a flock of birds during takeoff, which caused an engine fire and failure.

“I immediately got scared as s**t because I hate flying in general and it didn’t sound good,” Mitchell said, via ESPN.

The plane landed safely, and everybody on board was fine. The team eventually boarded a new plane and safely made the trip to and from Memphis, where they beat the Grizzlies, 126-110.

Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz
Donovan Mitchell didn't fly with the Jazz to Memphis after their plane had to make an emergency landing on Tuesday. (Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

Though he didn’t play in that game, Mitchell said Friday that he’s feeling much better about the incident and is willing to fly with the team again through the rest of the season — starting with their next road game on Monday against the Dallas Mavericks.

"I know I have a job to do," Mitchell said, via ESPN. "I understand that [flying] comes with the job. I took the time that I needed to kind of just mentally get myself in a good place. I'll be fine come Sunday when we fly out, but I just needed that time mentally. It was just a full day for me — like, 'I can't make that trip,' not for a game. Some things are just bigger than the game of basketball, and that right there was it for me. Everybody kind of has their different things. Mine happens to be [fear of] flying.

"I just needed to take that time, because it wasn't feeling [and] sitting right for me to go on the trip. My teammates and my coaches respected that, and I appreciate the support. But I understand that I have a job to do. I can't pull a John Madden and drive everywhere. As much as I would love to, I can't. I understand I've got to [fly]. I've calmed down, and I'll be good — should be good, at least, I think — for the rest of the season.”

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