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SALT LAKE CITY — Ever since being drafted to the Utah Jazz in 2017, Donovan Mitchell has thrown himself into the Utah community.
He's attended high school games, roamed the sideline during BYU, Utah and Utah State football games, and even famously attended a backyard barbeque. This week, as the Jazz started preparations for the season, Mitchell found a new way to show support for those who have been in mourning.
Mitchell traded in his typical No. 45 practice jersey and worn No. 22 in honor of University of Utah players Aaron Lowe and Ty Jordan. Lowe was shot and killed last weekend at a house party. The shooting is being investigated as a homicide. Jordan died last December after an accidental self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Lowe changed his number to No. 22 for this season to honor Jordan. The two were high school teammates at West Mesquite High in Texas. Lowe was the first recipient of the Ty Jordan Memorial Scholarship on Aug. 31.
"I wanted to pay my respects. I wore it in Vegas a couple of times," Mitchell said. "I'm not gonna switch my number but I think it's just something, obviously, the Utes and fans of Utah have paid their respects to not just Aaron but Ty as well. So, I just wanted to pay my respect in my own way."
Mitchell has done similar gestures in the past. In October 2018, he wrote "Lauren McCluskey" on his shoes to show support after the University of Utah track and field athlete was shot and killed on campus.
"Honestly, if I wasn't who I am, I'd still be doing it," Mitchell said of the outward shows of support. "At the end of the day, why change? I have a platform. I have a voice. I have the ability to inspire people. … I'd do the same thing if I was back in high school. For me, it's not about changing."