Ja Morant Found In Controversy, Flashes Gun
BY: AMAYA HENRY / CHIEF ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR
The Memphis Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant has been a hot topic in the media lately as he has been making some questionable choices.
The Dalzell, SC native was seen on Instagram live flashing a gun while at a strip club in Colorado following their game against the Denver Nuggets. Following this NBA spokesman Mike Bass stated, “We are aware of a social media post involving Ja Morant and are investigating.”
Following this incident, Morant released a statement saying, “I take full responsibility for my actions last night," Morant said in his statement. "I’m sorry to my family, teammates, coaches, fans, partners, the city of Memphis and the entire grizzlies organization for letting you down.”
This investigation resulted in Morant’s suspension, and although this suspension time frame has passed, he has yet to return to the court. This is partly due to Morant taking “some time away to get help and work on learning better methods of dealing with stress and my overall well-being” at a counseling program in Florida.
However, this incident wasn’t his first time getting in some trouble. In September, Morant was sued for clocking a 17-year-old in the face during the pickup game at his Tennessee mansion, but the NBA star insisted it was in self-defense.
After brandishing his gun, NBA legend Allen Iverson said he spoke to Morant and offered him the following advice: “It’s kind of the same thing off the court. You understand that a mistake is only a mistake if you make it twice. You understand that you are under a magnifying glass. A lot of kids, and not just kids, even adults, are looking at your every move. You understand that you’re not going to be perfect, but you know, you do have an obligation to be a positive person to the people that are looking up to you.”
This echoes NBA commissioner Adam Silvers's statement where he stated that Morant’s actions have “...serious consequences given his enormous following and influence, particularly among young fans who look up to him.”
NBA star Matt Barnes also offered some advice, “Don't tell on yourself and watch out for cameras. The second you step out of your house, you're being recorded these days. So just stay cognizant and be aware of your surroundings.”
Barnes followed this with words of encouragement, stating, “I love Ja. I love what he brings to the table. I just want to send him love. Let him know we love him. We miss him and we need him back.”
However, this recent incident has people discussing whether or not Morant deserves all the backlash he’s facing because, as some argue, while he shouldn’t be waving his gun around, he does have the right to protect himself.
Fans took to the Grizzlies' Instagram comments to release their opinions, with users commenting sentiments like, “The whole city of Memphis is behind Ja and our Grizzlies. Make no mistake.” and, “Ja, We still stand with you!!”
There have been many questions that have been on a lot of people’s minds, including how is Ja Morant going to come back from this? Will he play again this season? What’s he doing in this counseling program?
In an interview with former NBA player Jalen Rose, Morant tackled these questions and many more.
At the beginning of the interview, Morant disclosed that for the past couple of weeks, he has been talking with therapists and figuring out better and healthier ways of coping with his stress and anxiety. When asked what prompted him to go and get the help he stated that along with the gun incident, he wanted to do it for his 3-year-old daughter, Kaari.
“There’s times where she even tells me if she’s had a bad day and I felt like if she can tell me that then I can be able to go talk to somebody as well.”
Rose was able to connect with Morant as they were both drafted to the NBA at a young age and know the additional pressures and responsibilities that come with the role that so many dream about.
Shockingly, in the interview, Morant revealed that the gun was, in fact, not his, but did not disclose whose it was and admitted that it was a dangerous and potentially scary situation regardless.
Additionally, Rose stated that he wanted to give Morant a chance to clear up any of the other incidents that have dug up since the incident. Although Morant revealed that he couldn’t reveal too many details because these cases are “sealed,” he did reiterate that they were not a reflection of his character.
Another question people have been pondering is how the Grizzlies will do without him. In this 2022-23 season, he has more than stellar averages averaging 27 ppg, six rebounds, and eight assists. Morant expressed that while he does miss playing basketball and being with his team, in order for the team to get better, he himself has to get better first.
Many have accused him of wanting to be “a rapper” or a part of the Hip-Hop community due to the gun incident and his general mannerisms. To those claims, Morant stated, “No, I’m not affiliated with any gang. Like I said before, I don’t condone in any type of violence.”
A major theme throughout the interview was accountability. He didn’t try to place the blame on anyone else for his actions and instead took full responsibility while also reiterating that he’s going to come out of this as “a better Ja.”
However, as sports analyst Michael Wilbon stated, “We’ve seen what’s going on when young people are not marshaled in the proper direction and made to be accountable and responsible and maybe even fearful. It’s time for Ja Morant to get that now.”