- The NBA suspended Ja Morant for 8 games after he shared video of himself with a gun at a club.
- This was just the latest Morant-related incident, in which others said weapons were seen.
- Morant recently started a counseling program.
—Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) March 4, 2023
This week, the NBA announced it was suspending Morant for eight games for what it called “conduct detrimental to the league.” The suspension came 11 days after Morant began an Instagram Live post from a strip club that featured a gun he was holding.
The suspension will include the six games Morant already missed when he voluntarily left the team to seek help. According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPNMorant is not expected to return to action when the suspension ends, as he will need time to get back into shape.
The suspension will cost Morant nearly $700,000 of his $12.1 million salary.
In just his fourth NBA season, the 23-year-old Morant is already seen by many as the future face of the NBA, following in the footsteps of LeBron James and Steph Curry. The two-time All-Star is one of the most exciting players in the league with his high-flying dunks and is also seen as the key to the Grizzlies’ health in Memphis. the smallest market in the nba.
Commissioner Adam Silver addressed these issues in the NBA’s statement announcing the suspension.
“Ja’s conduct was irresponsible, reckless and potentially very dangerous,” Silver wrote. “It also has serious consequences given his enormous following and influence, particularly among the young fans who look up to him. He has expressed sincere regret and remorse for his behavior. Ja has also made it clear to me that he learned from this incident and that he understands that his obligations and Responsibilities to the Memphis Grizzlies and the broader NBA community extend well beyond his game on the court.”
After the 2021-22 season, in which Morant was named an All-Star for the first time, signed a five-year rookie max extension that will be worth up to $193 million.
Morant had a one-word reaction on Twitter.
—Ja Morant (@JaMorant) July 1, 2022
Late in the 2021-22 season, just as Morant was becoming the latest NBA superstar, he got into a Twitter war of words with someone who appeared to be joking with a woman he was dating. Morant responded, in a now-deleted tweet, with the statement: “It’s free to see how empty it feels.”
Many interpreted that as a threat to shoot the person.
—R3LLY (@wocktwin14) May 14, 2022
According to Molly Hensley-Clancy of the Washington Post, the head of security at a Memphis mall filed a police report saying Morant “threatened” him during an altercation in the parking lot. The guard said someone with Morant pushed him in the head.
Morant’s mother reportedly got into an altercation with a mall employee and called Morant, who showed up with “a group of up to nine other people.”
No charges were filed in connection with the incident.
The video of the gun was just the latest troubling incident for Morant.
During an off-season basketball game at Morant’s home last July, a 17-year-old accused Morant of attacking him after a verbal altercation. according to court records obtained by TMZ.
The teen told police that he accidentally hit Morant in the face with the basketball during the argument, prompting Morant to punch the boy, knocking him to the ground, and then hit him repeatedly with the help of another man.
The local district attorney decided not to charge Morant for the incident, but the teen later filed a lawsuit against Morant, according to TMZ.
Morant told police that the teenager intentionally threw the ball at his face and then approached him as if he wanted to fight. The NBA player also accused the teen of threatening to “light his house up,” which Morant interpreted as a threat to go get a gun.
Morant filed his own police report on the threat.
The Washington Post later reported that, after the fight, the teenager also accused Morant of entering his house and coming out again with a gun at his waist and his hand on the gun.
Late in the first half during a game between the Lakers and Grizzlies in Los Angeles, NFL Hall of Famer and current Fox Sports host Shannon Sharpe got into a verbal altercation with some Grizzlies players when They headed to the locker room.
When Ja Morant’s father, Tee Morant, approached the group, Sharpe and the older Morant had to be separated.
—CJ Fogler aka Perc70 #BlackLivesMatter (@cjzero) January 21, 2023
“[Dillon Brooks] He started coming towards me and I said, ‘You don’t want these problems.'” Sharpe said shortly after the incident. “And then Ja came out of nowhere talking. He definitely didn’t want this trouble. Then the father came along and obviously didn’t want any trouble. But I wanted everything they had. Don’t let these fools fool you now.” “
The next day, Sharpe apologized on his show and took full responsibility.
During a January game against the Indiana Pacers, at least one friend of Morant’s appeared to have a verbal altercation with the players. Devonte Pack, the same friend accused of beating the teen at Morant’s home, was apparently thrown out of his seat.
—Damichael Cole (@DamichaelC) January 30, 2023
According to Atlético, “acquaintances” of Morant confronted members of the Pacers near their team bus after the game. A verbal altercation lasted nearly 20 minutes, according to the report.
Morant then entered one of the vehicles belonging to the group. Pacers employees say they then saw a red laser coming from that car aimed at them.
After an investigation by the NBA, they concluded that there was a confrontation but that “they could not corroborate that any individual threatened others with a weapon.”
“Ja is a very good basketball player,” Sharpe said on his Fox Sports show, “Undisputed.” “Ja did everything he could to get himself and his family out of this kind of environment and away from this and for some reason he wants to surround himself with these kinds of people. Why? Bruh, you’re not tough. That’s not it’s your life. The people in that life would give anything to be in your life.”
Others believe Morant’s problem has more to do with growing up and adjusting to his newfound fame and money.
Morant grew up in rural South Carolina and went to high school in Sumter, with a population of less than 50,000. His teammate Tyus Jones told The Athletic that Morant is just going through growing pains.
“Every year [Morant] he’s getting more attention, and he’s going to become one of the faces of the league,” Jones said. “So with that comes more responsibility both on and off the field. Sometimes that just requires some growing pains to go through. It is not the same situation for him as last year. It is not the same last year as the year before. So you have to keep growing, keep learning. They’re just life lessons.”
After leaving the counseling show, Morant sat down for an interview with ESPN’s Jalen Rose.
“I feel mentally good that I haven’t been in many years,” Morant told Rose. “I’m in a space where I feel very comfortable. I was constantly talking to therapists. I’ve been doing Reiki treatment. I’ve been doing breathing for anxiety, different things to help me manage that and release all of that from my body.”
Morant said going on Instagram Live while at the club was “a terrible mistake” but said the gun was not his.
“The gun was not mine,” Morant said. “It’s not who I am, I don’t condone any kind of violence, but I take full responsibility for my actions. I made a serious mistake and I can see the picture I painted for myself with my recent mistakes, but in the future, I’m going to show everyone who really is Ja, what is it about and I will change this narrative.”
The NBA said they couldn’t prove the gun was Morant’s. or that he had brought the gun with him on the team’s flight to Denver.
After Morant’s nightclub incident with the gun, Athletic reported that the team had changed their travel plans after away games..
“Travel measures have even been taken to reduce nightlife habits this season, with the Grizzlies leaving more road cities (especially glitzier ones like Miami) immediately after the game rather than staying overnight,” they wrote. Joe Vardon and Sam Amick.
Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins said more changes are on the way.
“Us [will] sit down and talk to him and guide him through this process,” Jenkins told The Athletic. “That will be our focal point, on and off the pitch. As I said at the beginning, support and responsibility, that’s what we focus on. Not just in these last few weeks, but in the future.
“Obviously, things are going to be different.”