Ja Morant was suspended for the first 25 games of the 2023-24 season following a May 14 Instagram Live video clip where Morant brandished a gun. The NBA termed the suspension as a result of conduct detrimental to the league.
Morant is the best player in the Memphis Grizzlies roster in terms of impact and production. He is a crucial part of his team and is necessary for the team’s success. Given his immense potential, NBA analyst Stephen A. Smith is seemingly disappointed with Ja Morant’s conduct and holds him responsible for the Grizzlies’ poor run of form.
SAS pins blame on Ja Morant for Grizzlies 0-5 start
When talking about Ja Morant’s suspension and how it affected the Memphis Grizzlies’ dismal 0–5 start to the season, Stephen A. Smith held nothing back. Smith started off by praising Morant’s importance both on and off the court and pointing out that the Grizzlies have a 64% winning percentage when he plays. Additionally, he made it clear that while Morant did not break any laws, he did not behave in a way that the NBA expected.
Stephen A. is a fan of Ja Morant’s game and knows that Morant is the guy upon whom the Grizzlies depend. He spoke about Morant saying, “At the end of the day, the NBA told you [Morant] what they needed you to do and how they needed you to conduct yourself because guess what? They’re an iconic brand and this is how they run their business and they don’t want their bottom line compromised. You didn’t listen. And as a result, you got suspended for 25 games.”
Stephen A. is upset with the Grizzlies star’s actions and while talking about Morant, he further added, “So now a bunch of brothers in Memphis got to go on the court without their due, without their superstar talent that they literally lean on night in and night out. You are home watching games because you didn’t know how to act.”
The main points of contention in Smith’s argument concerned Morant’s suspension for showing off a gun on Instagram Live and his subsequent disregard for the league’s rules. Smith underlined that in order to preserve the NBA’s reputation as a recognizable brand and business model, the league expects its players to adhere to a set of standards.
Morant’s 25-game suspension remains despite NBPA opposition
The NBA executive vice president and head of basketball operations Joe Dumars informed The Athletic on Wednesday that All-Star point guard Ja Morant’s 25-game suspension will not be shortened at any point, which will disappoint the Grizzlies supporters.
The NBPA Executive Director, Tamika Tremaglio, expressed her opposition to the 25-game suspension in a statement upon its announcement. She called the ruling “excessive and inappropriate for a number of reasons, including the facts involved in this particular incident,” adding that the suspension is “not fair and consistent with past discipline in our league.”
Morant will serve a 25-game suspension that will begin at the beginning of the 2023–24 season as a result of being caught on camera twice brandishing a gun. The first time was in an Instagram Live video from inside a nightclub in the Denver area in March, which cost him eight games. The second time was from inside a car in May earlier this year.
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