Paul Pierce Backs Ja Morant Amid Gun Controversy As Jalen Rose, Kyle Kuzma Reflect On Younger Self And How They Handled Fame

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Ja Morant is currently away from the Memphis Grizzlies for at least two games. He is currently ‘taking some time to get help and work on learning better methods of dealing with stress and his overall well-being.’

The announcement on Saturday afternoon came after Morant appeared to brandish a handgun at a club in Denver while filming himself on Instagram Live. It is unclear as to whether further action will be taken, but the NBA is investigating the incident.

In the meantime, Morant has removed himself from social media and will not be with the Grizzlies.

The gun video, and other recent incidents, have led to varied reactions both in and around the league.

OutKick’s Mark Harris believes that Morant needs to drop the tough guy act.

Stephen A. Smith says that Morant needs to watch where he steps.

Paul Pierce, on the other hand, understands where Morant is coming from. He came out in support of the young Memphis star, citing the gun that he carried after being stabbed.

Pierce was stabbed 11 times at a nightclub in Boston in 2000. The 10-time All-Star later said that the harrowing interaction led him to focus more on basketball as a way to keep the focus on his career.

Me going through that incident, it was just like, man, I really need to focus on basketball. I shouldn’t really be in the streets or chasing girls or going to the club. It’s like, I really just need to zero back in on basketball. And that took up my whole life at that point from there on out.

— Paul Pierce, via Forgotten Seasons podcast

Pierce’s stabbing also led him to carry a gun. Today, he cites his experience as reason for why he understands Morant having a gun.

Jalen Rose offered a similar take on Ja Morant’s gun incident.

Rose, a former first round pick, spent 14 years in the NBA after four years at Michigan. He was born and raised in Detroit and went on to to play in Denver, Indiana, Chicago, Toronto, New York and Phoenix.

Rose is an analyst with ESPN and offered his opinion on the topic. The 50-year-old related his younger self to Morant.

I am Ja Morant. You guys got a chance to see me grow up for public consumption since 1991. I’ve been involved in drug raids, I’ve survived assassination attempts. I’ve been that undisciplined young person that was trying to figure out how to be famous, how to be successful, how to change the dynamics of my family.

— Jalen Rose

From there, Rose went on to say that Morant went from being “a member of the family, a member of the crew, to being the leader.” With that role, the former No. 2 overall pick needs to understand that things now fall on him.

Kyle Kuzma also took a reflective stance in regard to responsibility.

The Wizards forward related his past to Morant, and shared how he learned to keep his circle tight as a role model and leader.

Shannon Sharpe wants Ja Morant to listen to his role models.

Sharpe, who had issue with Morant’s father at a game and later apologized, wants to be clear that he does not have any role in the gun incident, or other off-court issues with Ja.

When someone pushed back and suggested that he be a role model, instead of a critic, Sharpe suggested that Morant is unwilling to listen to anyone that is looking out for him. No matter who that is.

Morant will not return from his time away until at least Wednesday, after Memphis plays in Los Angeles. It is unclear as to whether he will be back for the Grizzlies’ home game against the Warriors on Thursday.

Written by Grayson Weir

Grayson doesn't drink coffee. He wakes up Jacked.

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  1. I’d be curious what Alan Iverson and Michael Vick have to say about Ja Morant and his “crew” … since both Iverson and Vick had well publicized career-altering issues with their “crews” once they had Big $$$$$.

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