Memphis Grizzlies star guard Ja Morant apologized Tuesday night after receiving days of backlash over a video on social media that appeared to show him brandishing a gun in public for the second time in just over two months.
“I know I disappointed a lot of people who supported me,” Morant said in a statement. “It’s a journey and I recognize that there is still work to be done. My words may not mean much at the moment, but I take full responsibility for my actions. I commit to continuing to work on myself.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a television interview with ESPN on Tuesday that he was “shocked” by the video, which Morant’s friend allegedly posted live on Instagram.
Why it matters: Morant is influential as a rising NBA star.
Morant, 23, is one of the best young players in the NBA. He has already made two All-Star teams and an All-NBA team just four years into his career. He won the 2020 Rookie of the Year award. He is best known for his high-flying dunks and made the Grizzlies a strong contender in the Western Conference as the No. 2 seed in consecutive seasons.
He’s also part of a new generation of NBA stars the league hopes will help the game transition from aging characters like 38-year-old LeBron James and 35-year-old Stephen Curry. He has a new signature sneaker with Nike and has been announced as the new face. of Powerade in March.
Background: He was suspended in March because of a gun video.
Morant came under fire in March when a live video on his Instagram account showed him waving a gun at a Colorado nightclub. The NBA suspended him for eight games. Morant also apologized then, taking “full responsibility” for his actions. Morant promised to “work on better stress management methods” and went to a counseling center in Florida.
Silver, the NBA commissioner, called Morant’s actions “irresponsible, reckless and potentially very dangerous.”
The video was released as other Morant-related controversies swirled.
In a lawsuit, Josh Holloway, then 17, accused Morant of hitting him at a basketball game last summer. Morant told police it was self-defense. A mall employee had also accused Morant of assaulting him after Morant’s mother got into a fight at a shoe store. Another person accused Morant of bullying when Morant came to his sister’s high school volleyball game because she was involved in an argument. Morant was not charged with any crime in any of these incidents.
Recordings of the new video went viral on Sunday. The Grizzlies quickly suspended Morant from all team activities, despite the team being eliminated from the playoffs last month.
And then: The NBA will decide to discipline Morant again.
Silver told ESPN on Tuesday that the league is investigating the new video.
“The videos were grainy and all that,” Silver said. “But I guess the worst.”
As part of the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement between the players’ union and team owners, players agree to “not do anything that is materially harmful or materially prejudicial to the best interests” of the team or community. league. In suspending Morant for the first time, the NBA said his conduct hurt the league.