Memphis Grizzlies star guard Ja Morant apologized late Tuesday after days of backlash over a social media video that showed him brandishing a gun in public for the second time in just over two months.
“I know I have disappointed many people who have supported me,” Morant said in a statement. “I realize this is a journey and there is still work to be done. My words may not mean much right now, but I take full responsibility for my actions. I would like to work hard to improve myself.”
NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a televised interview with ESPN on Tuesday that he was “shocked” by a video allegedly streamed live on Instagram by a friend of Morant’s.
Why it matters: Morant is an influential rising star in the NBA.
Morant, 23, is one of the best young players in the NBA, already making two All-Star teams and one All-NBA team in just four years of his career. He won the Rookie of the Year award in 2020. He is best known for his high-flying dunks and has made the Grizzlies strong contenders in the Western Conference as the No. 2 seed in consecutive seasons.
he also A new generation of NBA stars The league hopes to help transition the game from older players like LeBron James, 38, and Stephen Curry, 35. He has Nike’s new signature sneaker and was announced as the new face of Powerade in March.
Background: He was suspended in March for a gun video.
In March, Morant came under fire after an Instagram Live video was posted of him brandishing a gun at a nightclub in Colorado. The NBA suspended him for eight games. Morant also took “full responsibility” for his own actions at the time and apologized. Morant visited a counseling facility in Florida, vowing to “work on better ways to deal with stress.”
NBA Commissioner Silver called Morant’s actions “irresponsible, reckless and potentially very dangerous.”
The video was posted amid other Morant-related controversies.
Josh Holloway, then 17, said in his lawsuit that Morant punched him during a pick-up basketball game last summer. Morant told police it was self-defense. A mall employee also accused Morant of assaulting Morant after his mother got into an argument at a shoe store. Another source accused Morant of threatening Morant when she came to see her sister’s high school volleyball game because she got involved in her sister’s argument. Morant has not been charged with any crime in any of these cases.
A new video recording went viral on Sunday. The Grizzlies immediately suspended Morant from all team activity, but the team was eliminated from the playoffs last month.
What’s next: The NBA will decide whether to re-discipline Morant.
Silver told ESPN on Tuesday that the league is investigating the new video.
“The video is grainy and everything else,” Silver said. “But I assume the worst.”
as part of the NBA labor agreement Players agree between the Players Association and team owners that they will not “do anything that would materially impair or seriously harm the best interests of” the team or league. When the NBA suspended Morant for the first time, it said his actions were detrimental to the league.