SALT LAKE CITY — Utah lawmakers took a stand Tuesday to defend Jazz star Donovan Mitchell against critiques by Shaquille O’Neal by passing a playful resolution that calls out O’Neal for his poor free throw shooting during his playing days and makes fun of the “Kazaam” movie he starred in more than two decades ago.
O’Neal, now a studio analyst on TNT, upset Jazz fans when he said at halftime of a game last week that the 24-year-old Mitchell didn’t have what it takes to be a superstar. That led to an awkward postgame exchange between O’Neal and Mitchell, who had just scored 36 points to lead the Jazz to a win over the Pelicans.
“In Utah, we support our players when they face awkward abuse during post-game interviews disguised as pep talks,” the resolution said.
O’Neal’s take that Mitchell “doesn’t have what it takes to get to the next level is even less accurate than his 50.4% playoff free-throw percentage,” the resolution said.
Utah Republican state Rep. Kera Birkeland introduced the resolution wearing a referee jersey and House Speaker Brad Wilson wore a Mitchell jersey while he read a resolution that suggested making “Spida” Mitchell the official state arachnid.
The resolution notes that O’Neal’s “Kazaam” movie has only a 5% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and made fun of his old video game, “Shaq Fu.”
Mitchell is averaging 24.3 points per game for the Jazz, who are 12-4 and were riding an eight-game winning streak ahead of Tuesday night’s game against the Knicks.