Temetrius Jamel “Ja” Morant, NBA guard for the Memphis Grizzlies recently served an eight game suspension after reportedly showing a firearm in a Denver nightclub while on Instagram live back in March. With the Grizzlies standing at second place in the Western conference, they were hopeful to get their star guard back in time for a deep playoff run with the regular season ending April 9th.
However, it has recently come to light that Morant is now facing allegations of hitting a 17 year old kid back in summer of 2022. New body cam footage has come out publicly from the Memphis Police Department in which the teenager explains how Morant struck him after a petty fight resulting from a pick-up basketball game. It is not clear if Morant will be facing charges or will be able to play for the Grizzlies in the 2023 NBA playoffs, but it is clear that Morant has his priorities backwards and is clearly letting his personal life affect his career.
The NBA has always been a place for young star athletes to showcase their talents and “art” on the court. Michael Jordan revolutionized basketball with his iconic Jumpman dunk from the free throw line in the 1987 NBA dunk contest. After countless shoes and brand deals all over the world, the Jumpman is a figure that everyone recognizes instantly. The NBA has been a place of opportunity for young athletes in poverty to escape the hood and create opportunities for their families that would otherwise be impossible. This is where the term “Rags to Riches” comes from in pop culture. NBA superstar LeBron James, who grew up in the hood of Akron, Ohio lived on pennies with his single mom for years in Ohio struggling to eat dinner before he hit his big break in high school and earned millions.
But this theme isn’t the same for Ja Morant, who grew up in Sumter, South Carolina in a stable two parent household that sent him to a private school. After pulling a firearm on instagram live and allegedly striking a 17 year old over a pick up game, twitter and other NBA players have questioned Morant’s recent decisions. Morant has been labeled a fake thug who has been trying to act hood and pretend to be a gang member that kills and sells dope. Desperate to be like other NBA stars from the hood like LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard, Morant has put on a false front.
Is he lying to himself about his upcoming or just simply trying to gain even more fame? Either way, If Morant doesn’t stop the current war path he is currently on, he’s going to be known as the superstar that went from Riches to Rags. Morant will be known as the man that lost everything he has worked for his entire career, all because he wanted to act like someone he’s not. Hopefully Morant pulls his act together for the Grizzlies, but only time will tell.