By Zach Jacovini
Recently, superstar NBA point guard Ja Morant has found himself in a bit of trouble — off of the basketball court, that is. Morant, who currently plays for the Memphis Grizzlies of the Western Conference, is a two time All-Star, 2019-2020 Rookie of the Year and one of the best young athletes in all of the NBA. However, this on the court success has not translated off the court for Morant. Due to multiple lapses in judgment, as well as poor decision making, Morant was recently suspended by the Memphis Grizzlies for at least two games.
Morant has been accused of three distinct off-the-court incidents, with all of them coming within the previous year. Last summer, according to multiple report outlets such as CBS, Morant’s mother entered a dispute with a Finish Line employee at a local mall. Morant was made aware by his mother of the incident. According to the reports, Morant, as well as a group of his associates, showed up to the mall, saying intimidating messages to the security guard. According to police reports, the security guard felt threatened by these statements. However, no arrests were made, and the situation faded away.
The off-court drama, however, was not over for Morant, as only four days later he had yet another off-the-court issue while playing pickup basketball. According to the report, an argument unfolded during the course of the pickup game, and after receiving a pass that Morant deemed was thrown a little too hard, Morant punched the 17-year-old boy who made the pass several times. In the police report made by the 17-year-old, he also claimed that Morant put his hand on his pants to reveal he possessed a firearm, but it was never confirmed by police if Morant had one on him.
These two critical off-the-court mistakes put Morant in the public eye, and that is why when Morant made his third crucial judgment error as of late, a punishment could no longer be avoided.
As detailed on The Sporting News, on the morning of March 4, Morant went live on Instagram Live from a club, and during his livestream, Morant showed off a firearm that he had in his possession. Public backlash, as well as backlash from NBA analysts and fans, had reached a boiling point, and Morant was forced to make a public apology, as well as deactivate multiple of his social media platforms.
After learning of the incident, the Memphis Grizzlies suspended Morant for their next two games against the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers. However, since those two games have passed, the team announced that Morant would miss more time, explaining in an official statement from the teams public relations twitter account that Morant would remain off the court for the time being.
“Ja Morant will continue to remain away from the team for at least the next four games,” the team said.
Morant’s recevent behavioral issues are beginning to add up. It would be in Morant’s best interest, as well as his teams, for him to understand that, while talent is an important part about being an professional athlete, so is maintaining a good public standing off the court.