NBA investigating Grizzlies’ Ja Morant for appearing to flash gun in video


The NBA has opened an investigation after Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant appeared to show a gun on a late-night social media video feed early Saturday morning.

In the hours following the Grizzlies’ loss to the Denver Nuggets on Friday, the 23-year-old Morant went live on Instagram. During the video stream, which was clipped and shared on other social media platforms, Morant sings a rap song, dances with a friend, and briefly appears to be holding a gun in front of the camera. The Grizzlies are scheduled to face the Clippers in Los Angeles on Sunday.

“We are aware of a social media post involving Ja Morant and are investigating,” an NBA spokesperson said Saturday.

Morant could face a fine or suspension for the video, which comes days after the Washington Post reported on two Memphis police reports linking Morant to allegations of assault and threatening behavior. Grizzlies and Morant agent Jim Tanner did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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In an incident at Morant’s home last summer, a teenager alleged that Morant pointed a gun at him after a fight, although the presence of a gun was not corroborated by the police. police. During a postgame confrontation in January, members of the Indiana Pacers alleged that Morant or one of his associates fired a laser beam at them. The NBA investigated this incident at the time and could not conclude that a firearm was present.

Morant was not charged with any of the incidents, and Tanner released a statement on Wednesday denying any use of firearms by Morant in the incidents.

“Any allegation involving a firearm was thoroughly investigated and could not be substantiated,” Tanner said. “That includes the NBA’s investigation last month, in which they found no evidence.”

Tanner said the incident involving the teenager last summer “was purely self-defense. Again, after a thorough investigation by law enforcement, they have made the decision not to charge Ja d “No crime. Any of the dozens of witnesses will confirm that Ja acted in self-defense and did not have a gun.”

The teenager, who is also involved in a lawsuit against Morant, told police that Morant repeatedly punched him in the head, knocking him to the ground. Morant countered that the boy had intentionally thrown a ball at his head, then walked over to him and pulled his pants up, which he took as a signal that the teenager wanted to fight.

After the altercation, the boy alleged he was being escorted off the property when Morant emerged from his home with a gun in his trouser waistband.

In police interview transcripts last summer, Morant confirmed that he owned a handgun. Police later mentioned the teenager’s allegation that he flashed a gun after their fight, but did not directly ask Morant if it happened. Neither Morant nor his attorney later denied the incident, according to the transcript. Morant’s attorneys have produced a number of affidavits from witnesses present in the fight that do not mention the presence of a firearm.

Morant, the second pick in the 2019 draft and two-time star, led the Grizzlies to a 38-24 record, good for the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference. The Murray State product signed a five-year, $193 million extension with the Grizzlies last summer, and he holds major sponsorship deals with Nike and Powerade.

Incidents involving firearms have become rare in the modern NBA, particularly after former Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas was suspended for 50 games during the 2009-10 season for introducing four weapons punches in the team locker room. Javaris Crittenton, Arenas’ teammate at the time, also served a lengthy suspension for his role in the incident with Arenas, which included brandishing his own gun and then lodging a live bullet in it. Stephen Jackson was suspended for seven games in 2007 after pleading guilty in response to an incident in which he fired a gun outside a strip club during a 2006 incident.

Shortly after the Post’s report came out last week, Morant appeared to celebrate a teammate’s field goal in a Wednesday win over the Houston Rockets by use their hands to simulate firing a gun.

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