Memphis Grizzlies player Ja Morant, who is one of the leagues brightest young stars, will sit for “at least two games” in response to a controversy over an Instagram live post in which the basketball player purportedly displayed a gun at a nightclub.
The controversy began when Morant began livestreaming from a club at 5:19am ET on Saturday, several hours after the Grizzlies lost to the Western Conference leading Denver Nuggets. In the video, which has since been removed after Morant deactivated his Instagram account in response to the controversy, Morant reportedly livestreamed himself “shirtless and rapping along” to the music in the club, while holding what appeared to be a gun aloft in his left hand. There is no indication that Morant pointed the gun at anyone during the course of the video or threatened anyone with it.
In a statement released Saturday afternoon, the Grizzlies said that Morant “will be away from the team for at least the next two games” due to the controversy. Morant himself released a statement saying, “I’m sorry to my family, teammates, coaches, fans, partners, the city of Memphis and the entire organization for letting you down. I’m going to take some time away to get help and work on learning better methods of dealing with stress and my overall well-being.”
Morant, who is only 23 years old, was selected to his second All-Star game this year and was named to the all-NBA second team last year. He is currently averaging 27.1 points per game, good for ninth in the league, and 8.2 assists per game, good for fifth in the league. He was drafted second overall by the Grizzlies in 2019 and has blossomed into one of the premier point guards in the league.