Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant was seen celebrating a teammate’s shot by pretending to fire a pistol, just hours after a police report revealed he allegedly pointed a gun at a 17-year-old boy after hitting him in the head in the last year.
New details from police interviews obtained by The Washington Post reveal that the 17-year-old told Shelby County Sheriff’s Office detectives that the quarterback hit him “12 to 13 times”, adding that Morant’s friend hit him an additional “four to five times.”
Morant, 23, was sued in September for allegedly punching a Tennessee teenager in the face during a pick-up game, but claims he was acting in self-defense
On Wednesday night, as the Grizzlies faced the Houston Rockets, his teammate Desmond Bane threw a three-pointer in front of the Memphis bench.
Morant was excited about the shot, but celebrated by pretending to fire his gun at Bane as he ran across the floor back to the defense.
Grizzlies ranger Ja Morant was seen pretending to fire a pistol to celebrate the trio
Memphis easily handled the Rockets, beating them 113–99, while Morant tallied 20 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in the win.
The police report on Morant’s activities drew the ire of some members of the media, including Shannon Sharpe, who this season was involved in a notable altercation with members of Morant’s entourage, including Ja’s father, Tee Morant.
“I’ve said it before, Ja, you’re going to have to move differently,” Sharpe advised. “You are in a different stratosphere now. I just think he needs to act like a person who is in the same stratosphere.
“It presents it as something it’s not… It’s rushing backwards… Me, just move differently, bro…
“I would never give you advice on how to play basketball, but I will try to give you advice on how to move,” Sharpe continued.
“Let someone else’s lesson be your lesson … Yes, there are many lessons you can learn without having to learn the same lesson through your own difficulties, that’s all I would say to him.”
The teenager claimed that when he got up to leave after a fight last summer, Morant entered his house and reappeared with a gun.
Morant allegedly had a gun visible in the waistband of his pants and had his hand on a pistol.
A few hours before the game against the Rockets, a police report on Morant (L) was released.
The 17-year-old plaintiff claimed he was playing basketball with Morant when the two got into an argument that quickly escalated. He admits to throwing a basketball at Morant and “accidentally” hitting the 6 foot 2 guard in the face.
Morant and his friend allegedly responded by striking the 17-year-old with “a clenched fist, knocking him to the ground” and leaving him with a “large knot” on the side of his head, according to a police report by MPs who said they had observed the boy’s injuries.
Morant “continued to drive him to the ground” as another person joined in to hit the teenager, who likened the hits to an “MMA fight”.
Morant is said to have admitted to hitting the 17-year-old, but told police he did it in self-defense. According to the former Murray State star, the plaintiff also made “verbal threats” and said he was going to “set fire to (Morant’s) house.”
Morant said that “he and his family were appalled by the announcement.”
In Morant’s interview transcripts, police raised the allegation that the NBA star was “swinging” a gun, but did not directly ask him if this had happened.
Records show that neither Morant nor his attorneys denied the claim at the time.
Morant played Wednesday’s game with 20 points, seven rebounds and seven assists
Police investigated the plaintiff’s claims for several weeks before transferring the case to the district attorney’s office in October. However, prosecutors decided that there was not enough evidence to proceed with the case.
TMZ reported on January 3 that the teenager filed a lawsuit against Morant in September.
The fight reportedly happened just four days after another previously unreported incident.
According to The Post, last summer the head of security at a Memphis mall told police that Morant had “threatened” him during an argument in a parking lot.
Morant’s mother reportedly got into an argument with a mall shoe store employee and called her son, who arrived soon after with a group of “as many as nine people”.
According to a police report, Morant and his friends refused to leave the parking lot when they were confronted by the mall’s security director.
The police arrived and the “verbal confrontation” allegedly escalated before someone in Morant’s entourage allegedly shoved the security chief in the head.
“As the group left the area … Ja Morant said, ‘Let me know what time he gets off,’ the police wrote in the report.
The alleged incident took place at Morant’s Memphis residence
The security chief reportedly wanted to file a report “because he felt threatened by Ja Morant’s testimony,” the police wrote.
Neither incident was made public at the time, and Morant got off to a strong start to the NBA season with the Grizzlies.
Morant’s agent Jim Tanner characterized the allegations as “baseless rumors and gossip spread by people motivated to destroy Self and tarnish its reputation for their own financial gain.”
“Every firearms allegation has been fully investigated and could not be substantiated. This includes an NBA investigation last month that found no evidence,” Tanner said.
The teenage boy incident, Tanner said, “was purely self-defense. Again, after a full investigation by law enforcement, they made the decision not to charge Ja with any crime.
The head of security at the Memphis mall also claimed that Morant “threatened” him last summer
However, the controversy resurfaced earlier this year after his friends “aggressively confronted” members of the Indiana-based traveling group after the Grizzlies v Pacers game on January 29.
According to The Athletic, Morant was driving an SUV with friend Davonte Pack and another person when a red laser was aimed at the Pacers bus.
Two people who spoke to the publication anonymously said they believed the laser was attached to the gun, while a nearby Indiana security guard stated “it’s 100 percent a gun.” However, it has not been confirmed that the laser was attached to the weapon.
The league launched an investigation into the allegation, but said it “doesn’t prove that any person threatened others with a gun,” an NBA spokesman said.