Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell will not defend his crown at the 2019 All-Star Dunk Contest, he told reporters yesterday at the Jazz’s shootaround.
“It really stems from when I got hurt, the three different times I got hurt this year. I remember last year when I came back from All-Star, I was tired,” said Mitchell, who captured the title as a rookie.
“Fortunately, we had some days where I could rest, but there would be days where I wouldn’t go to the gym and I would just sleep and get rest.
“For me, it’s tough; it’s one of my favorite events. It is my favorite event in the entire weekend,” Mitchell added. “I’d love to do it again. I think with everything that happened this last season, I wanted to experience an All-Star without doing it, just to see how it feels and to compare it to last year. It’s all a learning experience for me.”
The Deseret News reported that although Mitchell will skip the dunk contest, sources say he might participate in the Rising Stars Game on Friday, Feb. 15.
“I loved doing the dunk contest last year and it was a ton of fun, but I also know it takes a lot of focus, practice and preparation,” the 22-year-old told the Deseret News.
“Right now, my mind is really on helping my team make a deep run (in the) second half of the season. I’m excited, though, for the weekend. I’m going to be able to be a part of some great events.”
As a 21-year-old rookie, Mitchell became the first Utah player to win the dunk title since Jeremy Evans in 2012. In his two years with the Jazz, Mitchell is averaging 20.9 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game.
The 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend is set for Feb. 15-17 in Charlotte, N.C.
All-Star voting concludes on Monday, with starters and captains revealed on Thursday. The reserves will be announced Jan. 31.