Ja Morant has the Memphis Grizzlies positioned as an NBA championship contender this season, but allegations of violence and aggression off the court are starting to put his success under a harsher light. A new story in the Washington Post detailed multiple incidents where police investigated Morant for threatening behavior but ultimately declined to charge him.
The story comes a month after the NBA investigated Morant for an incident following a game against the Indiana Pacers. Morant’s father and close friend sitting courtside got into a shouting match with members of the Pacers at the end of the Grizzlies’ victory, and the shouting match continued to escalate after the game. As the Pacers’ traveling party was leaving, “someone in a slow-moving SUV — which Morant was riding in — trained a red laser on them,” according to The Athletic. The NBA eventually decided there wasn’t enough to discipline Morant.
A viral moment happened earlier this year when Morant’s father and other Grizzlies got into a courtside shouting match with FOX Sports commentator Shannon Sharpe. Sharpe eventually apologized in what was one of the most bizarre scenes of the NBA season.
The Washington Post published new allegations against Morant dating back to last summer on Wednesday. Here’s an overview of what they found.
Morant allegedly hit teenager “12 or 13 times” after pickup game in self-defense
Over the summer, Morant invited a talented local high school basketball player to a pickup game at his house. The player was not identified by the newspaper because he was a minor at 17 years old.
The teenager was guarding Morant in the game, and at one point Morant and the high schooler allegedly exchanged hard passes to check the ball in to each other. The ball reportedly hit Morant in the face, and then he punched the high schooler in the face. The high schooler continued to get hit by Morant and his friend until the skirmish was over. Morant then allegedly had a gun in his waistband as the teenager drove away. Here are details from the Washington Post:
“Ja hit me like 12 to 13 times,” the boy said, adding that the friend struck him four or five times. When police asked the boy how hard the punches landed, he compared them to an MMA bout.
After the men were pulled off him, the boy told police, Morant went inside and the boy got up to leave. As the boy was going to his car, he said, Morant “came outside with his gun.” It was tucked into his pants, the boy said, and though he didn’t pull it out, the boy said he saw Morant put his hand on it.
Morant claimed he was acting in self-defense. The police did not charge Morant with anything in the incident.
Morant and Co. get into altercation at mall parking lot
Over the summer, Morant’s mother allegedly got into an argument with a store employee at a local mall, and called Morant to the scene. Morant showed up with nine other people. Here’s how the Washington Post reported what went down:
Confronted by the director of mall security, Morant and his friends refused the security guard’s demands to leave the mall parking lot. Police arrived and a “verbal confrontation” escalated, the report says, until someone in the group allegedly pushed the security director in the head.
“As the group was leaving the premises … Ja Morant said, ‘Let me find out what time he gets off,’ ” police wrote in the report.
The parties left the scene and no arrests were made.
Ja Morant appears to flash gun while partying after Nuggets game
Days after the Washington Post report was published, Morant took a video of himself where he flashed a gun in a club following a loss to the Denver Nuggets on Friday night. The 23-year-old started trending on social media again with this video, and again ignited a conversation about his choices and his future. Here’s the video:
Grizzlies star Ja Morant was allegedly seen showing off a gun on his IG Live this morning.pic.twitter.com/HlhvoWlnYy— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) March 4, 2023
Ja Morant has never been charged by police
Morant and the Grizzlies talk a lot of trash on the court. That aggression between the lines has become a key part of the team’s persona, and to many it has helped fuel their success.
Morant hasn’t been arrested or charged by police for any of these incidents, but there’s now a pattern of reports of aggressive behavior off the court following him around. The brashness of Morant and the Grizzlies can work to their benefit, but it needs to stay on the court only.