Within days, hours or even minutes, the combination of NBA commissioner Adam Silver and the executives of the Memphis Grizzlies, Nike and Powerade can save Ja Morant from himself.
He is crying for help. He’s a 23-year-old NBA megastar who keeps doing crazier things right now, and if this continues after a while, he’s headed for the slammer or the morgue, whichever comes first.
Here’s the solution, but it’s going to take a lot of Silver and those Grizzlies, Nike and Powerade executives. They have to do their version of burning a hole in the Grizzlies point guard’s carry, or they have to keep him from ever being shy (at least in his mind) in the NBA.
Actually, they have to do both, but if they have the guts for one, they should do it by going for the slam dunk instead of the layup.
“We appreciate Ja’s accountability and that he is taking the time to get the help he needs. We support his prioritization of his well-being,” said Nike in a statement to The Athletic Saturday.
To translate, the world’s most famous sportswear company released Morant’s new signature shoe ($400 for a pair of Ja 1 “Midnight” and $110 for the others) basically went viral after an Instagram live video showing Morant showing what it looked like. hand gun.
Nike’s statement was in response to Morant’s statement on his deafeningly inappropriate video posted earlier Saturday: “I take full responsibility for my actions last night. I apologize to my family, teammates, coaches, fans, partners, the city of Memphis and the entire Grizzlies organization for letting you down. I’m going to take some time to get help and work on learning better ways to deal with stress and my overall well-being.”
Perhaps Morant’s statement was from the heart. Then again, it seemed like it was off the top of my head, as in “What can I say to calm people down after the Grizzlies’ reaction to my video?” His franchise announced that its spark plug toward becoming the second-best franchise in the NBA’s Western Conference in the standings at 38-25 would be “away from the team for at least the next two games.”
Weak. Very weak. Even weaker, the Powerade Morant family made their first athletic partnership in more than five years, but as for the growing image problems, they have said nothing.
Nike and the Grizzlies told Morant big with dollar signs.
In December, Nike officials made Morant the 23rd person ever to receive one of their signature shoes. The beginning was this month. You’d think they (Nike officials, along with the Grizzlies who signed Morant before the season as the face of their franchise to a five-year, $193 million contract) wouldn’t like any of “this,” and “this” goes further. that Instagram video.
For example: The Athletic among news outlets reporting in late January that several people on the Indiana Pacers team bus saw a red dot pointing their way after a game in Memphis against the Grizzlies. Pacers security guard thought the laser was attached to a gun.
According to the website, Morant and his crew rode “in a slow SUV” when the laser was pointed at the bus after a similar incident near the arena’s loading area.
There was also The Washington Post reporting in July that Morant was joking during a pick-up basketball game at his Tennessee home and allegedly punched a 17-year-old boy 12 times before Morant entered the home and returned with a gun he carried in his waistband waist and his hand on the. arms.
That’s at least two gun incidents involving Morant.
Which leaves the NBA to do what is needed here.
If you go by precedent, Morant should be swayed by a sports league in which legendary former commissioner David Stern suspended Washington Wizards star Gilbert Arenas indefinitely in January 2010 without pay over a gun incident. He was photographed using his fingers to personally shoot a gun at his teammates.
At the time, Arenas was under investigation by federal and local authorities for bringing guns into the Wizards locker room.
Arenas missed 50 games.
That would be the beginning for Morant.