Ja Morant returns to the NBA after controversy


Ja Morant in 2021, by All-Pro Reels. CC-by-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

After an eight-game suspension, superstar Ja Morant returned to the NBA Wednesday night off the bench, scoring 17 points in 24 minutes for the Memphis Grizzlies against the Houston Rockets. Morant was suspended following multiple controversial incidents regarding firearms.

February 5 after a game between the Grizzlies and Indiana Pacers, Morant and Pacers player Andrew Nembhard got into a verbal altercation. After the altercation, Morant reportedly got into an SUV with some associates where a red laser dot was seen being pointed at Pacers staff, who worried that it was attached to a gun. Despite an official NBA investigation finding nothing, the incident resulted in widespread criticism of Morant’s choices, especially by Shannon Sharpe, and one of Morant’s associates being banned from the Grizzlies’ stadium.

March 1 new details emerged on a legal case against Morant. He was accused of assaulting and threatening a 17-year-old with a gun after a pickup basketball game at the star’s house. The Shelby County district attorney said there was not enough evidence to conduct a further investigation.

March 4 Morant flashed a gun on an Instagram live stream after the Grizzlies lost a game to the Denver Nuggets. The Glendale, Colorado police began an investigation before determining that they would not be filing any charges. The NBA suspended Morant eight games after conducting its own separate investigation. Morant himself joined a counseling program.