Memphis Grizzlies Star Ja Morant Enters Counseling, Return Still In Question

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Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant has entered a counseling program during his time away from the team, following a spree of troubling actions and headlines regarding the 23-year-old star.

ESPN’s Tim McMahon and Adrian Wojnarowski reported the news of Morant’s decision to undergo counseling at a facility in Florida.

Leading up to the announcement, Morant kept trending in the NBA circles for all the wrong reasons. Morant’s recent controversies first appeared in early February and have continued to pester the Grizzlies more than a month later.

Police Reports Accuse Ja Morant Of Threatening Teenager With Gun
(Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)

Behavior Issues Land Morant in Hot Water

On Feb. 5, a report by The Athletic highlighted an alleged altercation between members of the Indiana Pacers organization and a band of Morant’s friends after a game.

Testimonies from on the ground shared that Morant’s crew pointed red-dotted lasers in their direction and at one point flashed a weapon. The NBA announced an investigation and concluded that the evidence did not corroborate the claims made against Morant. He was ruled out for the subsequent game due to a “wrist injury.”

Fast forward to March 1, Morant lands in hot water, again, as allegations of assaulting a teenage boy with physical force and flashing a weapon during a pickup basketball game emerge. Morant was also accused of showing up to a Finish Line sneaker store with nine friends to intimidate a worker who was having a dispute with Morant’s mom.

On Mar. 4, an Instagram Live video of Morant holding a gun at a Denver strip club named Shotgun Willie’s, amid a $50,000 bender.

After the Instagram Live incident and scathing questions regarding the Grizzlies’ role in letting Morant travel to Denver with a weapon, the basketball star announced that he was stepping away from the team for at least four games. In that span, Morant deactivated his Twitter and Instagram accounts.

NBA star Ja Morant being investigated by police over gun video. (Credit: Getty Images and Twitter)
Ja Morant being investigated by police. (Credit: Getty Images and Twitter)

“I’m sorry to my family, teammates, coaches, fans, partners, the city of Memphis and the entire organization for letting you down,” Morant shared in a statement. “I’m going to take some time away to get help and work on learning better methods of dealing with stress and my overall well-being.”

Ja Morant’s Season Still In Question

After Monday’s announcement, the projections on Morant’s return are still unknown.

Morant’s four-game suspension ruled him out for Monday’s game against the Mavericks, and his final game of the suspension would come Wednesday against the Miami Heat.

While still unknown, Morant’s return date could be Friday against the San Antonio Spurs. Monday afternoon, Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins commented on Ja’s potential return, saying the team will prepare him to be ready as soon as his suspension is over.

Despite his streak of questionable behavior, Morant’s decision to go to counseling expresses his interest in pivoting back to the NBA without further distractions.

Morant’s controversies have repeatedly linked back to influences around the star player, including father Tee Morant, who has previously caught headlines over his gaudy behavior courtside at Ja’s games.

The young player faces a real struggle of retaining his status as a premier face for the NBA brand when poor decisions keep getting in the way.

The NBA is still investigating Morant’s incident with the weapon at the Denver strip club.

Ja Morant Needs To Stop The Tough Guy Act For Himself And Memphis
(Photo by David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images)

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Written by Alejandro Avila

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