Fresh off signing his designated rookie maximum contract extension, five years and $193 million, Memphis Grizzlies’ star Ja Morant is enjoying his offseason. No doubt he’s doing his work in the dark and preparing to lead the Grizzlies next season, but he’s also allowing for some time with friends and spreading joy to others. While eating at a restaurant Morant tips his waitress $500, and her reaction is priceless.
Ja Morant tipped his waitress $500 and her reaction is amazing 🤣
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) July 5, 2022
When the overwhelmed waitress asked Ja Morant to identify himself, initially he responds by saying he’s “Black Jesus” which is in line with Morant’s whopper-sized ego, flair and gift of gab.
However, he deserves his props for his kindness. In a world filled with negativity, it’s nice to see people bringing joy to others. Morant joins a list of several athletes that take care of service professionals like this. Hall of Famer and TNT analyst Shaquille O’Neal is legendary for showing generosity and kindness to strangers.
Shaq paid the bills of everyone eating dinner at Jue Lan Club in Manhattan on Sunday, while also leaving a generous tip, per @PageSix
Shaq’s kind gesture reportedly costed him over $25k. 💰 pic.twitter.com/ouxXkjR5Dy
— NBA Retweet (@RTNBA) June 15, 2022
After leaving the bubble in Orlando in 2020, then-Houston Rockets guard Russell Westbrook left a tip for the housekeeping staff.
Spoke to Russ Westbrook. Confirmed he left a generous tip & thank you letter to housekeepers in the bubble. He didnt disclose the amount
"They took great care of us. Took the time and energy to do their job at a high level. That was the right thing. I like to do the right thing"
— Taylor Rooks (@TaylorRooks) October 6, 2020
While Morant is feeling fine, all is not well in Grizzlies land. The franchise’s defensive cornerstone and Morant’s running mate Jaren Jackson Jr. suffered a stress fracture in his foot and will miss the next four to six months as he recovers and rehabs.
The Grizzlies are coming off a Western Conference semifinals appearance where they pushed the champion Golden State Warriors to six games. Morant was injured in that series and missed the final two games. The team has a young core that’s proved they can compete, and the Grizzlies might look to make a move to put them over the top.
The Jackson Jr. injury means if he remains on that timeline, December is when he would be back. That would likely push Brandon Clarke into the starting role and Xavier Tillman Sr. into the primary backup role.
The team just drafted Jake LaRavia and David Roddy, both will play summer league looking to show that they can contribute come the regular season.
Probably the most important player, in terms of development this summer for the Grizzlies is second-year forward Ziaire Williams. According to reports, he has been working out with Desmond Bane and Morant in preparation for summer league. Williams played in 62 games last year, starting 31. He also saw action in 10 postseason games, starting one.
The Grizzlies are hoping for a Bane like jump in improvement for Williams. The 6-foot-8 forward is long, athletic, and if his skill set continues to develop this is yet another player that can contribute to winning basketball. He’s only 20 years old, and the 2021 lottery pick has tremendous upside despite being an overall net negative last season.
Last season was a fun ride for the Grizzlies and they should be proud of what they accomplished. But this summer, it’s all about the work. Next season they will face big-time. expectations both internally and externally. There will be a little reprieve as they start the season without Jackson Jr. but given how well the team played without Morant last year, people will expect the same results.
Morant embodies the rise of this iteration of the Grizzlies. Young, fun, and hungry to prove themselves. Even in the midst of all that work to get better, it’s nice to see him take a moment and give a little to someone.