Donovan Mitchell has been known to use his shoes to spread a message. Wednesday night’s game against the Rockets was no different, but this time for a more somber reason than usual. The shoes were the typical Utah Jazz red, and had the name “Lauren McCluskey” written along the sole.
Lauren McCluskey was the University of Utah student-athlete who was killed on campus this past Monday night. She had been harassed by a man she had formerly dated, who followed her Monday night and shot her on her way to her campus apartment.
The murder shocked the University, the state, and the country, and students at the University of Utah were dismissed from classes on Tuesday.
McCluskey was a senior track standout at the University. She was 21.
More Than an Athlete
Since arriving in Utah, Mitchell has been known to pay for strangers’ groceries, buy his mother cars, and cover people’s iPhone repairs. This newest tribute is yet more evidence of his off-the-court character, and why Jazz fans and the league at large love the young player.
After the game, he was interviewed and asked about the story behind his shoes.
“It was a scary feeling,” he said, “to be able to be close [to the incident].” The shooting happened in Salt Lake City, just minutes away from Vivint Smarthome Arena where the Jazz had faced the Grizzlies that same night.
Donovan’s little sister, Jordan, is all over his social media and spends a lot of time with her NBA star brother.
“I have a little sister,” he continued, “and in today’s world, women have to be protected more. I have a little sister, my mom raised me, you know. So women have to be protected more. She was being harassed for two straight weeks.”
He continued, referencing his sister again and how the shooting has shaken him as a brother, “That’s so tough. She was defenseless, couldn’t do anything about it. And for men to do that…that’s terrible. Just having a little sister this one really hit home to me.”
Donovan played well for Lauren, scoring 38 points in 38 minutes in the Jazz win over the Rockets.