Morant, the top guard for the Memphis Grizzlies, was initially suspended in March after flashing a gun during an Instagram Live video.The NBA is looking into Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant, 23, after he brandished an object that appeared like a pistol in a carefree manner during an Instagram Live video released over the weekend.
The video, which appears to have been posted on Saturday, came little over two months after the NBA punished Morant for flashing a gun in a live Instagram video taken at a Denver bar. He expressed regret at the time, claiming that the gun did not belong to him and that he would do better in the future.
The Grizzlies announced on Sunday that Morant had been suspended from all club operations pending the league’s evaluation of the new video. Memphis was ousted from the playoffs last month after losing in the first round to the Los Angeles Lakers. According to Mike Bass, a league spokesman, the NBA is “aware” of the post and is gathering more information.
Following the nightclub footage, the league punished Morant for eight games in March. The NBA’s commissioner, Adam Silver, emphasized Morant’s “enormous following and influence” in the announcement of the suspension, which characterized the gun incident as conduct detrimental to the league. The Instagram Live video was posted early on March 4, when Morant was “intoxicated,” according to the NBA. Morant soon enrolled into a Florida treatment center for counseling.
“I’m going to take some time away to get help and work on learning better methods of dealing with stress and my overall well-being,” Morant said at the time in a statement released by Tandem, his agent.
Unlike on Sunday, when the Grizzlies punished Morant, the franchise initially responded to March’s event more subtly, merely stating that Morant will leave the team. When addressing media at the time, coach Taylor Jenkins avoided criticizing Morant and provided few details about any interactions he or the team may have had with Morant.
Morant later stated that he chose to attend counseling.
According to stories in The Washington Post and The Athletic, the nightclub incident was just one of several disturbing off-court incidents for Morant dating back to last summer, some of which involving persons who stated they felt threatened by Morant or his colleagues.
One incident included a brawl with Josh Holloway, a 17-year-old whom Morant had brought to his house for a pickup game in July. Holloway has filed a lawsuit against Morant, and the police have conducted an investigation but have not charged him. Four days earlier, a mall security employee accused Morant of threatening him following an argument at a shoe store with Morant’s mother, Jamie Morant.
TMZ also alleged that Morant was probed by police for intimidation following a high school volleyball game in September, when Morant claimed that someone had insulted his sister. Morant told ESPN that he feared for his sister’s safety and fled when he knew she was safe.
Morant spoke with Silver, the commissioner, before returning to the Grizzlies following his suspension in March, and called the encounter a “open discussion.”
“Obviously, he said things I need to improve on, but it was more of him showing his support for me,” Morant said in an ESPN interview. “I accepted that, and I also apologized to everyone — to the league, to myself, to my teammates, and to my family — for bringing that negativity on all of us with a bad decision.”
Morant’s eight-game suspension, which was issued on March 15, included the five games he had already missed while away from the club for therapy.
“I’m a totally different person than what’s been shown in the media,” Morant said in an ESPN interview that aired hours after his suspension was announced. “That is now my responsibility. That’s why I took the time away: to become a better Ja, so that everyone can realize who Ja truly is and what he stands for.”
When he returned, he displayed a mix of defiance and contrition. He stated that the road he began in counseling was a never-ending one.
In his first game back, Grizzlies supporters greeted him with joy. Members of his family donned clothing with the word “redemption” written on it. Morant stated after the game that he felt unfairly targeted at times.
Still, Morant’s comeback provided an opportunity for him to demonstrate that his expressed desire to improve was genuine.
Morant is a top-tier guard in the league. In March, his Nike signature shoe made its debut. Nike did not reply quickly to a request for comment on Morant’s latest suspension. Nike issued a statement following the March occurrences, stating that the corporation supported Morant’s “prioritization of his well-being.”
He just finished his fourth season with the Grizzlies, having joined the team as the No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 draft as a diminutive but energetic point guard out of Murray State. He is the head of a youthful squad that has been one of the best in the Western Conference all season despite critical player injuries.
Morant retweeted a tweet from a Grizzlies beat writer last week, after he was passed over for one of the six guards on the three All-NBA teams.
Last summer, Morant agreed to a five-year contract extension that contained an additional $38 million if he made the All-NBA team this season. According to The Associated Press, Morant filed a countersuit against Holloway in April, accusing him of causing him pain and potentially costing him millions of dollars.