The Memphis Grizzlies have suspended their star guard Ja Morant from all team activities following the circulation of a video showing him holding a gun on social media on Saturday night. The suspension is pending a league review, and the team has not provided any further comment. The NBA is currently in the process of gathering more information, according to NBA spokesperson Mike Bass.
During an Instagram Live session on his friend Davonte Pack’s account on Saturday, Morant was seen flashing a handgun while driving and singing along to a rap song. The video has since been deleted. This is not the first time Morant has been involved in a similar incident; he left the Grizzlies and entered a counseling program in March after a video showed him holding a gun while intoxicated at a Denver club. The NBA suspended him for eight games after meeting with commissioner Adam Silver, who called Morant’s conduct “irresponsible, reckless and potentially very dangerous.”
Over the past year, Morant has been involved in several off-court incidents, including a lawsuit filed by a high school prospect after an altercation during a pickup game in Morant’s backyard, where Morant and Pack are alleged to have punched the boy in the head. The teenager told the police that Morant entered his house after the fight and came back outside with a gun in his waistband.
After a postgame confrontation with the Pacers’ traveling party, Pack was banned from attending games at Memphis’ FedExForum. Following an argument between Morant’s associates and members of the Pacers’ traveling party in the arena’s loading dock area, a red laser was pointed from an SUV in which Morant was riding. An NBA investigation “could not corroborate that any individual threatened others with a weapon.”
Morant’s behavior has affected the Grizzlies’ organization, and he acknowledged that he needs to be more disciplined. The suspension comes after the Grizzlies’ first-round playoff elimination, and Morant’s five-year, $194 million max contract is set to begin this coming season. It could have escalated to a supermax if he made All-NBA this season, but he was not voted onto that team, which cost him about $39 million in future earnings.
He has endorsement deals with Nike and Powerade, but the sports drink company pulled an ad featuring Morant almost immediately after the March video emerged. Despite his off-court issues, Morant averaged 26.2 points this season and helped Memphis secure the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference playoffs.