The NBA (National Basketball Association) is home to a trove of talented sports personalities across the globe.
Many names have risen to stardom, but only a few have been able to shine as brightly in recent years as Temetrius Jamel “Ja” Morant.
However, when discussing sports celebrities, particularly in the NBA, fans cannot ignore that sometimes players become entangled in several off-court issues, including legal matters.
Ja Morant is no stranger to such. Some of his most notable off-court issues include holding a gun on a live social media broadcast and punching a teenager during a pickup game.
How will the Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant deal with the legal charges? What repercussions will he face as a consequence of his actions?
This article explores Morant’s current legal situation and whether he is or will be prosecuted. This write-up also discusses what the NBA did to help resolve the young superstar’s situation.
What Did Ja Morant Do Illegally?
Back in March 2023, NBA star Ja Morant faced an eight-game suspension after he was allegedly seen brandishing a gun in an Instagram Live broadcast. The local authorities and the NBA were actively involved in the investigations after that incident.
While it’s legal for adults to carry guns openly in Colorado, doing so under the influence of alcohol is not permitted. The NBA did not confirm whether Morant owned the pistol.
Rewind to a couple of weeks before the Instagram incident, Morant was also accused of punching a minor during a pickup game of basketball.
According to Molly Hensley-Clancy of The Washington Post, Morant’s punching incident surfaced four days after a Memphis mall security guard reported that the basketball player, together with an associate, threatened and shoved him. No arrests were made for that instance.
What Did Ja Morant Do With a Gun?
Following his first incident of allegedly showing a gun on a live Instagram broadcast in March, Ja Morant of the Memphis Grizzlies was suspended for 25 more games after he was seen recklessly waving a gun on the same social media platform for the second time.
Morant, who was 23 at the time of the gun-waving incidents, is among the most explosive young guards in today’s NBA. He has one of the most popular jerseys based on sales and boasts a 12.5-million following across his social media accounts.
Over the years, the NBA has been conscious of its image, particularly in the sensitive topic of gun violence. Stars like Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors and LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers have also expressed their thoughts about gun safety.
Stephen Curry’s team, the Golden State Warriors, even met with officials at the White House for a panel discussion on the said issue.
Although Morant did not appear to have violated any of the league’s established rules regarding firearm usage with his videos, the 23-year-old superstar’s careless acts were deemed a threat to undermine the efforts of the NBA.
Arrest and Charge – Suspended for Threatening Boy With a Gun
Allegations about Morant striking a teenager in the head and threatening him with a handgun surfaced after some of Ja’s friends were accused of intimidating an Indiana Pacer personnel.
Morant, who turned 23 in August 2023, was said to have struck a 17-year-old during a pickup basketball game at his house. Authorities have confirmed that Morant and a companion punched the boy so hard that it left a big knot on his head.
Further information also leads to allegations that Ja had a pistol with him at the time of the altercation, threatening to shoot the young boy.
In a counter statement, the Memphis Grizzlies point guard said that the kid has claimed to come back and burn the house “like fireworks.” Morant filed a police report several weeks after the incident.
Ja Morant is less likely to face charges since no one was shot or injured.
Ja Morant Was Accused of Threatening a Security Guard
Four days before his incident of hitting a 17-year-old in the head during a pickup game, reports surfaced about Ja Morant threatening a mall security personnel.
The incident was previously unreported until it was brought to light by The Washington Post.
As per a Memphis Police Department incident report, an unnamed woman was involved in a disturbance in the Finish Line store.
The woman and a group of about nine or ten people, including Ja Morant, were asked by the security personnel to exit the property. Afterward, a person from the group allegedly pushed the guard on his head.
The report stated that Morant opted to find out when the guard gets off, implying that the group seemingly wanted further trouble. The guard then filed a police report since he felt threatened by Morant’s remarks.
Morant’s group left after the incident, and no injuries were reported to the authorities.
Charles Barkley Provides a Stern Warning to Ja Morant Using a Tragic Analogy
In an episode of The Steam Room, Charles Barkley, the NBA legend, weighed in on the Ja Morant controversy.
Barkley described the seriousness of the incident by using a heartbreaking capital murder case as an example.
The Hall-of-Famer used the story of the Alabama basketball player Darius Miles, who, according to Alabama.com, was charged with killing a 23-year-old back then.
Barkley used the incident as an example to help Ja Morant understand the implications of his foolish actions.
The NBA legend also pointed out that Ja’s “gangster” behavior was unnecessary, especially with a $200-million contract.
With his explosive athleticism, decent shooting percentages, and innate ability to drive through the basket and fish for fouls, Morant is an absolute top-five for any current team in the NBA.
While in college, he earned a spot in the First Team All-American, playing as a sophomore for the Murray State Racers.
As of 2023, Morant has had the most successful career out of all the NBA players who hailed from the said school, although ESPN 247Sports did not rank Morant. Notably, South Carolina was his only NCAA Division I major offer.
Since his rookie season in the NBA, Morant has consistently proved himself to be the next face of his franchise. His tenacious approach to the game was often compared to all-time legends like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, and Derrick Rose.
During his NBA stint, he was named the 2020 Rookie of the Year and was picked as a starter for his induction to the NBA All-Star lineup in 2022. He also led his team, the Memphis Grizzlies, to various appearances in the playoffs.
In his four-year tenure in the Memphis Grizzlies franchise, the former number two draft pick averaged 26 points, 6 rebounds, and 8 assists per game.
Some notable games that Morant had were against the Minnesota Timberwolves, where he recorded a playoff career-high of 13 rebounds, and a game against Denver Nuggets, where he put up 23 points, seven rebounds, and four assists.
Davonte Pack, Friend of Ja Morant, Released From Jail Following Arrest
In July 2022, Davonte Pack, a close friend of Ja Morant, was involved in an incident in the NBA superstar’s house.
Joshua Holloway, who was 17 at the time, was assaulted during a pickup game that he was part of in Morant’s house.
Holloway’s party is suing the Memphis Grizzlies superstar in civil court following the alleged assault.
The altercation at Ja Morant’s residence began over a simple timeout check-ball play. According to witnesses, the teenager rolled the ball towards Ja. Morant responded by throwing the basketball harder at Joshua’s chest.
As a response, Holloway threw the ball back at Morant, hitting him in the face. The two parties’ respective legal teams are debating whether Holloway intentionally threw the ball at Morant.
Furthermore, witnesses said that as the two approached each other on the court, the 17-year-old got into a balled fist stance. That sparked the Grizzlies star to throw the first punch, hitting Joshua but not knocking him down.
After Morant instigated the first hit, Pack admitted that he walked up to the teenager and hit him in the head. Witnesses in the area had confirmed Pack’s statement.
Davonte Pack is named in the incident report as having hit Holloway, and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office had confirmed that the charge came from the July 2022 physical altercation incident.
In an affidavit, the Shelby County Sheriff’s deputies stated that Pack remained unnamed during the investigation’s initial stages. Deputies then received deposition testimony as part of a civil proceeding.
Through the deposition testimony given on May 2023, Morant’s friend, Davonte Pack, acknowledged hitting the accuser, and he also asserted that he did not perceive any threat from Holloway at the time.
Multiple personalities, including Morant’s parents, have been deposed in the civil case. The case is on hold as attorneys prepare to present arguments regarding the constitutionality of Tennessee‘s stand-your-ground law.
Ja Morant’s legal team has cited immunity under that statute, saying that the NBA guard acted in self-defense when he struck the teenager.
On the other hand, Pack was released on his own recognizance, as per his bail screening sheet.
The Judicial Commissioner also cited Davonte’s lack of a criminal record, except for a single no driver’s license misdemeanor charge he received in Kansas.
Did Ja Morant Get Sentenced?
Memphis Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant was suspended from the team following the posting of a video on Instagram where he appeared to be brandishing a firearm in a nightclub in Glendale, Colorado.
Although Morant remained away from the team, he did not face criminal charges concerning this incident.
Nevertheless, the potential consequences within the NBA framework could have been more strict. If Morant did bring a firearm onto team facilities, he would be subject to disciplinary actions as outlined in the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement.
Colorado Police Say No Charges for Ja Morant
The Colorado Police Department won’t recommend charges against the NBA superstar Ja Morant. They also stated that their decision was grounded in the inability to establish probable cause for filing any charges.
Per the department’s statement, no calls for service related to a weapon were received at the nightclub on the night in question. No complaints were lodged, and the investigators have confirmed that no one had been threatened with a firearm.
The Aftermath of Ja Morant’s ‘Gun’ Incident
Ja Morant has received an indefinite suspension from his team, as confirmed in an official statement.
The suspension impacts his personal contributions to the team and raises alarming concerns regarding his commercial endorsements.
Per their official statement, the sportswear giant Nike has expressed their commitment to supporting the 23-year-old superstar amidst the investigation.
On the other hand, Powerade, a sponsor of Morant, appears not to be taking Ja’s side since they had taken down an advertisement featuring the young Grizzlies superstar.
The NBA Could Suspend Ja Morant for Over 50 Games
Morant’s suspension had been a significant development, but the situation could be escalated to broader horizons if it’s determined that he violated NBA rules by purposely bringing a gun to an NBA facility.
While a potential defense statement for Morant could be attributing gun ownership to a different person, the NBA is very unlikely to treat the matter in a light approach and could still impose substantial penalties.
No one knows exactly what punishment Morant could face. However, if you go several years back, you might recall a recent gun-related incident in the 2009/10 season involving Gilbert Arenas.
Arenas, a three-time All-Star, was suspended until the end of the season (a total of 50 games) for bringing guns (although unloaded) into his team’s locker room.
Meanwhile, as of November 2023, Morant is still exhausting his 25-game suspension. This means he can only play a maximum of 57 games during the regular season.
The young superstar was set to begin this season on a $194 million dollar contract. However, he will not be compensated for the 25 games he won’t play due to suspension.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver also stated his disbelief towards Morant’s repeated behavior. Silver had always been vocal about the Memphis Grizzlies guard’s influence on the younger crowd.
In a statement, the NBA commissioner said that the potential for the youth to emulate Ja’s behavior is of concern. He also mentioned that the 25-game suspension is appropriate for Morant’s irresponsible conduct.
During his suspension, Morant said he would take time away to seek help and work on acquiring better methods to deal with stress and develop his well-being.
- Colorado police say no charges for Ja Morant; Griz star to remain out
- Ja Morant won’t face criminal charges
- Charles Barkley comments
- Is Ja Morant’s 25-game suspension fair
- Davonte Pack, friend of Ja Morant, released from jail following arrest
- Is Ja Morant In Jail? Arrest And Charge- Suspended For Threatening Boy with a Gun