A complete timeline of Ja Morant's off-court controversies, from threatening a mall security guard to showing a gun on Instagram
The Memphis Grizzlies suspended Ja Morant "from all team activities" on Sunday.
A video circulating on social media appeared to show Morant holding a gun.
Here's a timeline of his controversies.
The Memphis Grizzlies suspended Ja Morant Sunday after he appeared to hold a gun in a video shared on social media.
The Memphis Grizzlies shared a Twitter statement after footage of Morant circulated online. A video streamed on Instagram Live Saturday appeared to show the 23-year-old holding a gun while surrounded by friends in a car.
"We are aware of the social media video involving Ja Morant," the Grizzlies' statement reads. "He is suspended from all team activities pending League review. We have no further comment at this time."
It is the second time since March that Morant has faced suspension for brandishing a gun in a video shared on social media.
The NBA suspended Ja Morant for 8 games in March after showing a gun in a nightclub.
The NBA suspended Morant for eight games without pay over what they called "conduct detrimental to the league." The suspension came 11 days after Morant started an Instagram Live post from a strip club showing a gun he was holding.
The suspension included the six games Morant missed when he voluntarily stepped away from the team to seek help. The suspension cost Morant nearly $700,000 of his $12.1 million salary, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Morant is seen by many as the NBA's king-in-waiting.
In just his fourth season in the NBA, the 23-year-old Morant is already seen by many as the future face of the NBA, following in the steps 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 health of the Grizzlies in Memphis, the NBA's smallest market.
In March, Commissioner Adam Silver addressed these issues in the NBA's initial suspension statement.
"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 young fans who look up to him. He has expressed sincere contrition and remorse for his behavior. Ja has also made it clear to me that he has learned from this incident and that he understands his obligations and responsibility to the Memphis Grizzlies and the broader NBA community extend well beyond his play on the court."
He recently signed a $193 million extension.
Following the 2021-22 season, in which Morant was named an All-Star for the first time, he signed a max rookie extension for five years that will be worth as much as $193 million.
Morant had a one-word reaction on Twitter.
—Ja Morant (@JaMorant) July 1, 2022
Morant's off-court troubles seemingly began when he appeared to threaten somebody on Twitter.
Late in the 2021-22 season, just as Morant was becoming the NBA's latest superstar, he got into a war of words on Twitter with somebody who appeared to be trolling him over a woman he was dating. Morant responded, in a now-deleted tweet, with the statement: "It's free to see how hollow feels."
Many interpreted that as a threat to shoot the person.
—R3LLY (@wocktwin14) May 14, 2022
After the season, Morant was accused of threatening a mall security guard.
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 that somebody with Morant shoved him in the head.
It was reported that Morant's mother got into an altercation with a mall employee and called Morant who showed up with "a group of as many as nine other people."
No charges were filed in relation to the incident.
Four days later, he was accused of beating up a teenager.
The gun videos are just the latest troubling incidents for Morant.
During an off-season pickup basketball game at Morant's house 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 the police he accidentally hit Morant in the face with the basketball during the argument, which led Morant to punch the boy, knocking him to the ground, and then repeatedly hit him with the help of another man.
The local district attorney chose not to charge Morant over the incident, but the teen later filed a lawsuit against Morant, according to TMZ.
Morant said he was acting in self-defense.
Morant told police that the teen threw the ball at his face intentionally 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 over the threat.
The Washington Post later reported that, after the fight, the teen also accused Morant of going into his house and coming back out with a gun in his waistband and his hand on the gun.
Morant's off-court issues once involved his dad.
At the end of the first half during a January 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 as they headed to the locker room.
When Ja Morant's dad, Tee Morant, approached the group, Sharpe and the elder Morant had to be separated.
—CJ Fogler AKA Perc70 #BlackLivesMatter (@cjzero) January 21, 2023
"[Dillon Brooks] started to come at 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 these problems. Then the dad came and he obviously didn't want no problems. But I wanted anything they had. Don't let these fools fool you now."
The next day, Sharpe apologized on his show and took full responsibility.
A week later, members of the Indiana Pacers alleged they were threatened by a gun and Morant was involved.
During a January game against the Indiana Pacers, at least one friend of Morant appeared to get into a verbal altercation with players. Devonte Pack, the same friend accused of also punching the teenager at Morant's house, was seemingly ejected from his seat.
—Damichael Cole (@DamichaelC) January 30, 2023
According to The Athletic, "acquaintances" of Morant confronted members of the Pacers near their team bus after the game. A verbal altercation lasted for nearly 20 minutes, according to the report.
Morant then entered one of the vehicles belonging to the group. Employees of the Pacers say they then saw a red laser coming from that car pointed at them.
After an NBA investigation, they concluded that there was a confrontation but that they "could not corroborate that any individual threatened others with a weapon."
Sharpe accused Morant of trying to be "hard."
"Ja is a really good basketball player," Sharpe said on his Fox Sports show, "Undisputed." "Ja did everything he could to lift himself and his family out of this type of environment and to get away from this and for some reason he wants to surround himself with these type of people. Why? Bruh, you not hard. That's not your life. People in that life would give anything to be in your life."
Others say Morant's issue is more about maturity and adjusting to his newfound fame and money.
Morant grew up in a rural area of South Carolina and went to high school in Sumter, with a population of less than 50,000. Teammate Tyus Jones told The Athletic that Morant is just going through growing pains.
"Each year [Morant] is getting more attention, and he'll become one of the faces of the league," Jones said. "So with that comes more responsibility both on and off the court. Sometimes that just takes some growing pains that you have to go through. It's not the same situation for him as it was last year. It's not the same last year as it was the year before. So you have to continue to grow, continue to learn. It's just life lessons."
After the incident in the club, Morant entered a counseling program.
After leaving the counseling program, 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'm very comfortable. I was constantly talking to therapists. I've been doing Reiki treatment. I've been doing anxiety breathing, different stuff to help me manage that and release all that stuff from my body."
Morant called going on Instagram Live while in the club "a terrible mistake," but said the gun wasn't his.
"The gun wasn't mine," Morant said. "It's not who I am, I don't condone any type of violence, but I take full responsibility for my actions. I made a bad mistake and I can see the image that I painted over myself with my recent mistakes, but in the future, I'm going to show everybody who Ja really is, what I'm about and change this narrative."
The NBA said they could not show that the gun was Morant's or that he had brought the gun with him on the team flight to Denver.
The team has also changed their travel routine in recent months.
After Morant's late-night club incident with the gun, The Athletic reported that the team had changed their travel plans after road games.
"There have even been travel measures taken to curtail nightlife habits this season, with the Grizzlies leaving more road cities (especially the glitzier ones, like Miami) immediately after the game instead of staying overnight," Joe Vardon and Sam Amick wrote.
Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins said more changes are coming.
"We [will] sit down and talk to him and guide him through this process," Jenkins told The Athletic. "That's going to be our focal point, on and off the court. As I said in the beginning, support and accountability — that's what we are focused on. Not just in these recent couple of weeks, but moving forward.
"Obviously, things are going to be different."
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