Ja Morant decided to live on the wire. And his sporting career, which has seen a dizzying rise since he entered the professional world just four years ago, could suffer the consequences. The Memphis Grizzlies point guard, who at age 23 is already one of the most decisive players in the current NBA, is currently isolated from the franchise’s sporting environment. A drastic measure, but considered necessary due to his latest scandal.
In the early hours of Saturday, March 4, hours after his team was defeated in a match played in Denver, Morant broadcast a direct message on his personal Instagram account, with more than eight million followers, during which the player was seen holding his hand. left what, apparently, was a firearm.
Throughout the same Saturday, the young owner would issue – through his agency, Tandem – a statement, in which he would apologize and show regret for what happened, declaring that he took “total responsibility” for his actions and suggesting that he withdraw field audience to, according to the statement, “learn how to deal better with stress”. By the way, the Grizzlies themselves would impose a sanction of at least two games without playing for Morant.
However, the commotion generated would be enormous and, now, unstoppable.
Colorado regulations make it illegal to carry firearms while under the influence of alcohol. And although the Glendale (Denver, Colorado) Police Department confirmed that the incident took place at a club in a known nightlife area, their subsequent investigation determined that there was not enough evidence to charge the player with a felony for his actions.
However, the danger for the young basketball star reaches other limits. Incidentally, some directly linked to the internal rules of the NBA itself. According to this code, players cannot carry firearms when they are in spaces derived from their profession, a circumstance that includes not only the obvious – pavilions – but also places associated with the routine of an NBA franchise – that is, those linked to your travels-.
Failure to comply with this regulation may lead to sanctions, promoted directly by the commissioner of the NBA, which would result in disqualification for an indefinite period. The league itself recently clarified, through its spokesman Mike Bass, who also opened an investigation in this regard.
The scenario is, therefore, very problematic for a Morant for whom what happened in Denver does not represent, in any case, an isolated event. And it is that the player seemed to enter, since last summer, an uncontrolled spiral that has already left several incidents in the media.
According to information from The Washington Posta firearm was also involved in an episode, still under police study, which took place on July 26, 2022, weeks after Morant signed a contractual agreement with the Grizzlies whose amounts will guarantee him around 183 million euros over the next five years .
This incident occurred during a basketball game, which was friendly and mixed professional and amateur players, played on the premises of Morant’s mansion in Memphis. One of the participants, a minor, denounced that the NBA player violently attacked him on more than ten occasions after a disagreement during the duel, in addition to maintaining that another person in Morant’s entourage – later identified as Davonte Pack – also attacked him. and, at one point, Morant walked away from the scene to return with a firearm sticking out of his pants.
The Grizzlies player would testify to the police weeks later, after a complaint made by the young man, stating that he only tried to defend himself. In turn, Morant’s agent, Jim Tanner, stated that the incident could not be proven.
Just four days before that game, a security agent would denounce the player for another event, this time produced in a shopping center in Memphis, due to an argument between the player’s mother and a shoe store clerk. . After the problem, Jamie, the player’s mother, called her son, who appeared within minutes accompanied by “at least nine other people”, according to the whistleblower’s testimony to the Post.
After a verbal discussion, the mall’s security director stated that he was threatened, that Morant and his companions refused to leave and that one of them even hit him in the head.
That same season, in late January, Morant was involved in another incident, this time after a game played in Memphis against Indiana. As reported by the portal The Athletic, the Pacers denounced that their bus was the target of a laser, which their security identified as a firearm, from a van in which Morant was a passenger. This came after a duel in which one of Morant’s inner circle members, Devonte Pack, was ejected for invading the rink seeking a confrontation with Pacers players. The Pack would later be banned for one year from not being able to attend Grizzlies games.
With Morant in the eye of the storm, both the player and the League find themselves in a delicate position. The first, due to the continuous incidents that have been devaluing its public image. The second, because of the effects that an even greater drift of events could have.
Not only for the sinister memory of the episode that took place thirteen years ago between Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton, also with firearms involved, but also for the global damage caused by one of the faces of its new era, the sixth player with the greatest commercial impact in the competition and, deep down, one of the great icons of the generations that are beginning to pay attention to the NBA, he stands out for his behavior off the court.
After all, and the NBA itself promotes this, players are not just players. And as such, they are expected to manage their position responsibly. It’s not easy, of course, to the point where the Morant case could test the very strength of the system.
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