The Memphis Grizzlies decided to take disciplinary action against Ja Morant on Sunday after he was seen brandishing what appeared to be a firearm in a social media video that was broadcast live on Instagram.
It is the second time in fewer than three months that Morant has been photographed clutching what seemed to be a weapon in an Instagram photo. Morant’s pay was reduced by approximately $669,000 due to the first incident, which resulted in an eight-game NBA suspension that was handed down in March.
It is unknown what consequences Morant may face as a result of the second video, which was widely disseminated over the internet on Sunday. An colleague of Morant’s went live on Instagram at the same time the All-Star was sitting in the front passenger seat of a vehicle with another individual. During this time, the All-Star momentarily appeared to exhibit a firearm. There is no indication as to when or where the most recent footage was shot.
“We are aware of the social media post involving Ja Morant and are in the process of gathering more information,” said NBA spokesman Mike Bass. “The matter is currently under investigation.”
According to the Grizzlies, Morant is barred from participating in any and all team activities “pending league review.”
The gun video that surfaced earlier this season was captured when Morant went live on his own Instagram account while he was at a bar in the Denver suburbs in early March. He was clutching a gun. Following the widespread dissemination of that information, Morant made the statement that he was going to take some time off to seek assistance, but he did not define the type of treatment that he was receiving. Later on, ESPN claimed that he was receiving therapy in Florida; the organization eventually verified this, but they did not disclose any other information about the situation.
After meeting with Morant and determining the length of the suspension, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver issued a statement in March, describing Morant’s behavior as “irresponsible, reckless, and potentially very dangerous.” Silver’s comments came after he had made a decision regarding the length of the punishment. “It has even more serious repercussions when considering his enormous following and influence,” particularly among younger followers who hold him in high esteem.
During the time that he was suspended, Morant cooperated with ESPN by giving an interview in which he accepted responsibility for the video.
Morant was quoted in March by ESPN as saying, “I do not condone any type of violence.” “However, I am willing to accept complete responsibility for my acts. I should have known better, but now I can see the picture of myself that my most recent errors have created. It’s not pretty. But in the future, I’m going to show everybody who Ja truly is and what I’m about, and I’m going to rewrite this narrative.”
And when the season was over a couple of weeks ago, Morant reiterated that he needed to focus on his decision-making by saying it was one of the areas that needed improvement.
“Being disciplined on both sides, off the court by making better decisions, and on the court by being locked in even more,” Morant said after a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers that ended his team’s season. “As the leader of this group, I’m pretty much responsible for getting things off the ground…. I have a lot of room for improvement in that regard.
This upcoming season will mark the beginning of Morant’s maximum five-year contract, which is worth $194 million. It had the potential to grow to a supermax if he had made All-NBA this season; however, he was not elected onto that team, which set him back almost $39 million in future earnings.
There is no doubt about his ability to perform on the court. He led Memphis to the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference playoffs after scoring 26.2 points per game on average this season and averaging 27.4 points per game the previous season.
However, the Grizzlies’ season came to an end due to internal discord. They were eliminated in the first round by the Lakers, and their elimination came in the form of a 40-point setback to close out a series in which trash talking and antics became just as important of a storyline as the actual playing of basketball.
And the offseason is now off to a start that is less than ideal as well, particularly after Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins remarked before the playoffs that the squad has to minimize “unnecessary drama, self-inflicted decisions that take away from the team.”
Jenkins stated that heading into the following year, there needs to be a radical shift in the strategy.
Since the beginning of 2023, there have been at least three known NBA investigations revolving around Ja Morant and the probable involvement of guns in these incidents.
After an incident on January 29 in Memphis, which Morant described as having resulted to a buddy of his being banned from home games for a whole year, the conduct of Morant became the subject of an investigation.
That event occurred after a game in which the Indiana Pacers were the opposing team. Citing anonymous sources, The Indianapolis Star and USA Today stated that many members of the Indiana Pacers saw a red dot directed at them. Additionally, The Athletic reported that a Pacers security guard suspected the laser was hooked to a rifle.
The National Basketball Association has stated that its inquiry has discovered no proof that anyone was threatened with a weapon, despite the fact that it has confirmed that certain anonymous persons have been banned from the arena.
Then, on March 4, in the early hours, there was an incident in the Denver region that occurred after the Grizzlies had finished a road game versus the Nuggets. Morant began a livestream broadcast at 5:19 a.m. local time from the confines of a strip club in Glendale, Colorado, known as Shotgun Willies. There were no charges brought against Morant, and the police said that they did not get any calls or complaints related to Morant possessing the pistol.
A civil case has been filed against Morant and a close friend of his in connection with an event that occurred at Morant’s house during the summer of 2017, during which a young man who was then 17 years old claimed that he was abused by them. On April 12, Morant responded to the teen’s lawsuit by filing his own, accusing him of slander, violence, and assault.