“Might be Really the End”: What Utah Jazz Players Texted Their Families Amid Plane Failure

Published 04/02/2021, 5:30 AM EDT


The Utah Jazz were involved in a terrifying ordeal on Tuesday. After the flight carrying them took off from the runway, it hit a flock of birds. This caused a fire in one of the engines of the aircraft and caused an emergency landing. While everyone luckily came through this incident safe, the Jazz players had been fearing the worst as they saw the scenes unfold mid-air.

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The team was traveling to Memphis to face the Grizzlies as part of their road NBA games. While their arrival to Memphis was delayed and their preparations hampered because of this incident, they still managed to win the game 111-107 against the hosts.

Feb 19, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Clippers guard Lou Williams (23) reaches to steal the ball by Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley (10) in the second half of the game at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

After the game, Jazz guard, Mike Conley, spoke about their fear during the flight. He said:

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“For a good 10 or 15 minutes, I think all of us on that flight were questioning if we were going to be here today. That’s how serious it was for us. I can’t speak for everybody, but I know that guys were trying to text family just in case, you know? It was that kind of situation. It felt like the plane was breaking apart in midair… For five or 10 minutes, it felt like complete helplessness. We’re thankful it wasn’t as serious as it could have been, but it was scary.”

The incident triggered Utah Jazz ace Donovan Mitchell’s flight phobia

Jazz‘s front and center, Donovan Mitchell, missed the game because of ‘personal reasons’. Even though he was fit, he did not join the team after they took off to Memphis on another charter flight. The team departed just hours after their emergency landing.

Donovan Mitchell stayed home because of his flight phobia. Although it could affect his availability for future road games, his teammates were supportive of him.

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Dec 12, 2020; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (45) prepares for their game against the Phoenix Suns at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

“It got to that point where we were all on the plane like, ‘This might be really the end.‘ I mean, it was a crazy situation. I understand fully why Don didn’t come,” said Jordan Clarkson after the Grizzlies game.

Fans will hope that Mitchell overcomes his fear of flying with time and that the Jazz put this terrifying incident behind them to keep their singular focus on the NBA title.

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Bharat Aggarwal

667 articles

Bharat Aggarwal is a sports analyst for EssentiallySports, covering Formula 1 and NBA. A Delhi University graduate, Bharat has multi-year experience in sports writing, having closely worked with the content strategy aspect as well. Bharat Aggarwal supports Manchester United, Lewis Hamilton, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rafael Nadal, Dirk Nowitzki, Sachin Tendulkar, Ayrton Senna, Kristaps Porzingis, and Dallas Mavericks.

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