The NBA’s New Villain? | Ja Morant Is The Second Coming Of Allen Iverson

Memphis Grizzlies star guard Ja Morant and people he associates with were involved in another incident where a police report was filed. This is the third incident dating back to last summer, and the Grizzlies have a problem with their young star.

Ja Morant And His Associates Have Been Involved In Multiple Negative Incidents

According to The Washington Post, last summer the head of security at a Memphis mall told police that Morant “threatened” him during an altercation in the parking lot. The security guard filed a police report and notes in the report said a member of Morant’s group shoved the director in the head. No arrests were made.

The event at the mall allegedly happened four days prior to the incident at Morant’s house where he struck a 17-year-old teenager. Morant is being sued by the teenager.

The Post is reporting that the teenager told police that Morant emerged from his house with a gun visible in the waistband of his pants.

Ja Morant’s Agent Denies Any Firearms Present

Morant’s agent Jim Tanner released a statement on Twitter disputing the allegations regarding the firearm.

“Any and every allegation involving a firearm has been fully investigated and could not be corroborated. This includes the NBA investigation last month, in which they found no evidence,” Tanner said. The incident with the teenage boy, Tanner said, “was purely self-defense. Again, after this was fully investigated by law enforcement, they came to the decision not to charge Ja with any crime.”

Ja Morant’s Dad Loves The Drama Too

Earlier this year it was reported that following the Jan. 29 game against the Indiana Pacers in Memphis, where Ja Morant’s father Tee and Ja’s friend Davonte Pack got into a verbal altercation with Pacers players on the floor during the game, the verbal altercation continued at the loading area at FedEx Forum, where the Pacers team buses were. Someone in Ja’s party flashed a red laser light on the Pacers’ traveling party. Members of the Pacers group reportedly thought it was attached to a gun and feared for their safety.

The NBA investigated the incident and could not corroborate the presence of a firearm, but Pack was banned from attending Grizzlies home games for a year.

It really doesn’t matter whether or not Ja Morant or anyone in his crew possessed a gun during the two incidents in question. What matters now is that there is a pattern that has developed. Morant and people that he associates with have been involved in situations where police reports have been filed and people felt that their lives were threatened.

Ja Morant’s explosive drives, incredible ability to maneuver his wiry frame to the hoop against bigger defenders, his charisma, brashness and the way he makes NBA suits cringe and applaud is all reminiscent of “The Answer” Allen Iverson.

Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant and his associates involved in third incident dating back to last summer. (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)

Is Morant The New Allen Iverson ?

Not sure that Morant has Allen Iverson’s thirst for the club life, because AI and his boys were international card-carrying members of every popping urban club and strip joint in the country during his prime years with the Sixers.

But AI paid a price for his cultural independence while participating in a more conservative and corporate NBA. Iverson has had his share of legal troubles, but he always managed to maneuver his way to safety, starting with his four-month stint on a Hampton jail farm for his “alleged” involvement in a 1993 bowling alley brawl that saw a woman injured with a chair. AI was railroaded and given a five-year bid but was pardoned by then-Govenor Doug Wilder, earned a scholarship to Georgetown under the iconic John Thompson and hit the NBA in 1996 like a lightning bolt crashing into a cloud.

Iverson became a villain of the NBA’s corporate culture, from his choice of hip-hop fashion to the way he moved with an entourage of family and friends whose personal challenges would often spill into Iverson’s lap for one reason or the other.

His refusal to come off the bench in a secondary role led to Iverson retiring from the NBA sooner than most felt he should have. He’s had an abundance of financial problems and looking back there’s probably a couple of things, he would have done differently, but he’s a Hall of Famer with a champion’s heart and a cult following despite never winning a ring and all the drama in between.

Morant doesn’t have to immerse himself in balancing the street life and corporate expectations. He doesn’t have to travel with people who have nothing to offer other than aggression and confrontation. He has the ability to change a generation. It’s the same power Iverson had in the uniqueness and relentlessness of his game.

Bad Look For Grizzlies, Hurts Ja Morant Brand

Instead of uplifting his fans and embracing his role as the corporate face of the Memphis Grizzlies, Morant has adopted a gangster persona that is unhealthy for him and the team. It’s one thing to trash talk opponents on the basketball floor and keep it within those confines. But when it escalates off the court into something else and potential violence, that is an issue.

FS1 media personality Shannon Sharpe, who got into a verbal back-and-forth with the Grizzlies in Los Angeles when they were in town to play the Lakers, called Morant out for adopting a thug persona.

“I wish Ja would realize he’s not a thug,” Sharpe said. “You’re not about that life! No one looks at you and thinks you’re hood. Stop pretending!!”

Ja Morant has a signature shoe from Nike that will drop in time for the playoffs, he has one of the top-selling jerseys in the NBA, and he just signed a five year $194 million rookie max extension. He is the face of one of the NBA’s top contending teams.

Being associated with any type of news like this is a bad look.

You’re a professional athlete about to earn generational wealth and are on a trajectory to being an all-time great player. Why would you want to jeopardize any of that by cosplaying a thug?

There are real thugs and people who are about that life with nothing to lose who do this for real, and the consequences there are deadly.

Back to top