NBA star Ja Morant is banned and deactivates social media after flashing a 'gun' on livestream
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Featured Image Credit: Marty Jean-Louis/Alamy Stock Photo/JoMorant/Instagram
NBA star Ja Morant has been banned after flashing what appeared to be a gun in a video that is now circulating on social media.
The Memphis Grizzlies star went on Instagram Live on Saturday (4 March) where he appeared to film himself holding a gun.
He was seen in a nightclub where he was dancing, before appearing to lift a gun up to the side of his head.
It occurred hours after his team lost 113-97 to the Denver Nuggets.
Morant, 23, has since deactivated his Instagram account as the NBA conducts an investigation.
The All-Star guard has been suspended for ‘at least two games’ and has since apologised and said he would ‘get help’.
He said in a statement: “I take full responsibility for my actions last night.
“I’m sorry to my family, team-mates, coaches, fans, partners, the city of Memphis and the entire Grizzlies organisation for letting you down.
“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.”
The Memphis Grizzlies said in a statement that “Ja Morant will be away from the team for at least the next two games.”
The team are currently second in the Western Conference and will face the Los Angeles Clippers today (5 March) and the Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday (7 March).
The NBA has also responded to the video in a statement. Spokesman Mike Bass said: “We are aware of a social media post involving Ja Morant and are investigating.”
Morant was sued in September 2022 for allegedly punching a teenager in Tennessee during a pickup game, but the NBA star has claimed he was acting in self-defence.
The 17-year-old plaintiff claimed the incident happened while playing pickup basketball with Morant when an argument escalated. The teen said he threw a basketball at Morant which ‘accidentally’ hit the six-foot-two star in the face, the Washington Post reported last week.
However, Morant’s agent Jim Tanner reaffirmed that Morant acted in ‘self defence’ and that he did not have a firearm with him during the incident with the teenager, as reported.
He said: “The July 26th incident was purely self-defence. Again, after this was fully investigated by law enforcement, they came to the decision not to charge Ja with any crime. Any of the dozens of witnesses will confirm Ja acted in self-defense and that he did not have a firearm.”
Morant’s agent said he is a ‘family-first man who loves giving back to his community’ and an ‘extremely talented athlete’.
He added: “It’s disturbing that unsubstantiated rumours and gossip are being put out by people motivated to tear Ja down and tarnish his reputation for their own financial gain.”
UNILAD has contacted Jim Tanner for further comment.
Morant made his second All-Star Game appearance last month and is currently averaging 27.1 points.