‘This Was His Chance To Live Like an NBA Superstar’: Sources On The Grizzlies Blaming Tee Morant For Son Ja’s Career-Threatening Behavior

ESPN published a story on Memphis Grizzlies superstar Ja Morant on Wednesday, where an unnamed team source said that Ja’s father, Tee Morant, has been a factor in the All-Star’s poor behavior.

“Tee has been a major driving force in all of this,” one team source said. “He never made the NBA, but this was his chance to live like he’s an NBA superstar. That’s been a problem from the beginning.”

Local Media And Supporters Think ESPN Did A Hit Piece On Ja

Grizzlies fans and local media members that support the team have labeled the story by Baxter Holmes and Tim MacMahon as a “hit piece” and a major media outlet picking on a player who hasn’t committed any actual crimes.

The story is mostly a rehash of all of the incidents that we know about involving Ja over the past two years. It also includes information from a meeting team general manager Zach Kleiman and head coach Taylor Jenkins had with Ja regarding his behavior, that was allegedly met by Ja with apathy.

Then there is the claim by a team source that Tee has had a negative influence on Ja.

What’s truth and what isn’t?

Being A Young NBA Superstar Isn’t Easy

If you are a Grizzlies fan or a Ja sympathizer it’s easy to see what was reported in the story as a “hit piece.” If you’re someone that is critical of the behavior of athletes and their larger responsibility it is easy to see this story as proof of something.

The reality is it’s likely some of both.

Ja has engaged in poor behavior involving guns that potentially exposes him and those close to him to fatal consequences. As the leader of the Grizzlies basketball team he has let his teammates down by not being available for games due to consequences of these actions.

Personally, he has placed generational wealth in jeopardy. Sponsors can drop him, and depending on what happens in the future, his contract could be terminated.

Now, it doesn’t appear that we are close to the latter. But all scenarios are on the table.

Ja is 24 years old and there is no manual on how to navigate instant fame and riches. It’s a difficult reality to handle. Not just for Ja, but for those around him as well. His family and close friends.

One minute you are living in a small town in South Carolina, the next you are literally on every sports show and your dad seen sitting courtside is called an Usher lookalike.

How do you navigate everyone knowing who you are all of a sudden? Having the ability to buy anything you want, and go anywhere you want? All of a sudden people treat you differently. They have a reverence and deify you in many ways, give you access you wouldn’t normally have if you were not an elite NBA baller or someone close to him.

How do you react to that when it starts happening?

It’s easy to say Morant and his family and friends need to do better. They do. But easier said than done.

This season will be the litmus test as to what Ja and his team have learned. That’s not to say there won’t be stumbles along the way.

But how he and those close to him conduct themselves will be scrutinized and monitored at a level they’ve never seen before. How they deal with that will go a long way in determining whether this was just the growing pains of adjusting to new found fame and riches or something else entirely.

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