Memphis Grizzlies superstar Ja Morant is in the news for all the wrong reasons. Again. On Wednesday afternoon, the Washington Post published a story that brought two of Morant's run-ins with the police last summer to light. No charges were filed in either incident but sound a bit troubling.
The first incident featured in the article saw Morant and others show up to a mall and get into an altercation with a security guard that allegedly ended with a vaguely threatening statement from Morant. They did this because Morant's mother got into an altercation of her own and called Morant afterwards:
Two months after the loss to Golden State, Morant’s mother was at a Finish Line shoe store at a Memphis mall when she got in a dispute with a store employee, according to a Memphis Police report obtained by The Post. She called Morant, who arrived shortly after with a group of as many as nine other people.
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 second incident is one we already knew about. Earlier this year TMZ reported Morant was being sued for attacking a 17-year-old during a pickup game at Morant's house in July 2022. The details provided by the Post reveal that Morant allegedly walked out of his house with a gun in his pants after punching the teenager during a basketball game.
The teenager drew the task of guarding one of the world’s most electric scorers. When Morant threw the ball hard at the boy’s chest as he attempted to check it in, the boy threw it back just as hard. The ball “slipped through [Morant’s] hands,” the teenager said, and it hit Morant’s chin.
The teenager told police Morant then put his chin on the boy’s shoulder and asked his friend, “Do I do it to him?” The friend responded, “Yeah, do it.”
Morant then punched the boy in his jaw, the boy told police, and without warning, the friend struck him on the other side. “I fell to the ground, trying to cover my face, so I wouldn’t get hit in the face,” the boy told police. “I got, started getting hit, punched in my head, everything else.”
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.
“His dad was yelling at him, like: ‘No, no, no. Go back. Go back in the house,’ ” the boy told police.
Morant's agent strongly denied all allegations of wrongdoing.
In a statement, Morant’s agent, Jim Tanner, characterized the allegations as “unsubstantiated rumors and gossip are being put out by people motivated to tear Ja down and tarnish his reputation for their own financial gain.” The boy and his mother filed a lawsuit against Morant over the incident, his family attorney confirmed. The existence of the suit, which is under seal, was reported earlier this year by TMZ.
“Any and every allegation involving a firearm has been fully investigated and could not be corroborated. This includes the NBA investigation last month, in which they found no evidence,” Tanner said. The incident with the teenage boy, Tanner said, “was purely self-defense. Again, after this was fully investigated by law enforcement, they came to the decision not to charge Ja with any crime.”
Yikes. All this on top of the Pacers incident in which someone from Morant's retinue allegedly shined a laser pointer at a staffer makes it a very, very bad 2023 for Morant so far.