by Kimya Oliver
Blacks have been fighting for a long time. Today, there are amazing role models who have made history in their passion and made their mark in black history. The Utah Jazz have black athletes that continue to be leaders that inspire other athletes around the world.
Karl Malone is a top franchise player in Jazz history. Malone ended his career with 36,374 points. His game was flashy and gained most of his points by pulling up from mid-range and dominating the paint. Malone averaged 28 points for five straight years from age 25 to 30.
While dominating the paint, Malone also leads the Jazz in franchise history with a total of 14,601 rebounds, twice as many as Mark Eaton who is second on the list with 6,939 rebounds.
Donovan Mitchell continues to make his mark on this Jazz squad and before he secured his spot had achievements in his early career.
Mitchell was ranked No. 17 nationally in high school and No. 2 for the shooting guard position. He was named MVP in the 2015 Kentucky Derby Festival Classic and also won the dunk contest.
Mitchell was an efficient scorer when attending the University of Louisville as he had double-figures in 13 games. Mitchell was featured on ESPN for a dunk against Kennesaw State University. It was ranked the No. 8 play of that day on SportsCenter.
Mitchell’s rookie season was a movie. He won the NBA Slam Dunk Contest in 2018. He amazed the crowd with backboard dunks, a reverse 360, and dunking over three people. Those people were Kevin Hart, Kevin Hart’s son, and Mitchell’s sister. Mitchell is one of two Jazz players to win a dunk contest. The other is Jeremy Evans
Right now, Mitchell is averaging 25.4 points per game and 5.3 assists. Mitchell is currently No. 8 on the all-time points list for the Utah Jazz with 7,594 points.
Mitchell continues to amaze his fans and inspires many young black athletes all around the world.
Rudy Gobert played for the French men’s national basketball team before landing a spot on the Jazz’s roster.
Gobert is a three-time NBA Defensive Player of the year, just one away from Dikembe Mutombo and Ben Wallace who each have four.
Gobert has been one of the best in the NBA in blocked shots. From 2017-18 season to the 2020-21 season he has averaged over two blocks per game every year.
Gobert’s journey to the NBA shows young athletes that going to college isn’t the only ticket to play professional basketball. Playing for a nation or playing in other leagues around the world can help pave the way to the NBA.
Black excellence is everywhere and needs to be recognized all over the world. Black culture is American culture.
Featured image courtesy Spenser Heaps, Deseret News