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Stephen A. Smith issued a clear warning to Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant on Saturday.
On “NBA Countdown,” Smith said that Morant needs to watch where he steps. Because the NBA sure is.
“So many times, we don’t tell these players this,” Smith said. “NBA has off-duty police officers. They’ve got connections with the FBI. They’ve got connections with everybody. The NBA knows what you’re doing. They know who you’re doing it with. They know where you are. And they know how you’re conducting yourself at all times.”
OutKick reached out to the NBA for comment, but they have not yet issued a response.
Smith is referring to Ja Morant’s continuing off-the-court issues. Most recently, the Grizzlies announced Morant would step away for two games after a video surfaced showing the NBA star partying with women and flashing a small pistol while streaming an Instagram Live.
“You are a superstar,” Smith said, addressing 23-year-old Morant directly. “You got a deal that kicks in next year that could exceed $231 million over the next five years. And on this show, on national television, is you associated with police. Think about that for a second. And then ask yourself, is it really, really worth it? You know the answer to that, bro. It’s not worth it.”
Smith said when a person reaches a certain level of stardom, you have to always be mindful of your actions. An NBA superstar, he said, represents his organization, his family and his city.
Stephen A. Smith knows about covering controversial NBA players.
“I covered Allen Iverson for the first 10 years of his career,” he said. “And when I tell you that was a beat in and of itself… Everybody knows what I’m talking about there. It was a different level.”
Iverson was a polarizing figure throughout his career. An 11-time All-Star and one of the NBA’s most decorated superstars, he was also in constant trouble with the law.
And a big reason for that, Smith said, is because of the “company he kept.” And if Morant doesn’t get it together, Smith fears he might be in the same boat.
“I want to make sure that Ja Morant, his family, his friends, and everybody understands that all of us up here are fans of his,” Smith said. And anything that we say… we’re saying it in the best interest of his future.”