Ja Morant’s highly-publicized difficulties over the past year have sent his fans and critics alike scrambling for answers.
How does a 24-year-old with the world at his fingertips, who is on the verge of a complete takeover of the NBA, mess up so badly?
Between the troubling accusations made against him by dancers, the bizarre Instagram model scheme he was just linked to and what Taylor Rooks said about his problems, it has just been one thing after another. Even Ja’s sister’s wild video blew up online.
On popular theory that has emerged in recent weeks is that Ja’s difficulties can be traced to his father, Tee Morant.
Tee has become a popular figure within the larger cultural zeitgeist in recent years. He is a prominent figure at Memphis Grizzlies games and has increasingly seen his profile grow.
Last week, Baxter Holmes and Tim MacMahon of ESPN reported that some within the Grizzlies’ organization believe Tee is at the core of Ja’s woes.
“Tee moved to Memphis a week after his son was drafted and enjoyed the spoils of his son’s rise to superstardom, hosting VIP events and parties at nightclubs, with television cameras often panning toward him,” the report noted.
“Tee also confronted former NFL player Shannon Sharpe at a Jan. 20, 2023, game in Los Angeles, and he argued with Pacers players during a Grizzlies’ Jan. 29 home game. Tee’s presence, and the spate of incidents, dismayed some in the Grizzlies organization, team sources said.”
One particularly damning quote stood out from the report.
“Tee has been a major driving force in all of this,” one team source told ESPN. “He never made the NBA, but this was his chance to live like he’s an NBA superstar. That’s been a problem from the beginning.”
One person who doesn’t buy this narrative? Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green. He said as much this week.
“Oh no. Let’s not remove another black father from they child life. They not going for it anyway outta Sumter,” Green said on his Instagram account.
A Commanders cheerleader’s wild photos went viral before the Giants game:https://t.co/995W9JeYEA
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 22, 2023
Obviously Green doesn’t believe Tee is a problem.
One way or another, there is no denying that Ja’s rise to superstardom has hit a brick wall. Whether Tee’s critics are right or Green is right is debatable, but what isn’t is that something has to change on Ja’s end.
Will 2023 be the year that Ja and the Grizzlies get a little bit of their old swagger back, minus all the distractions? Time will tell.
Jennifer Withers Hoey is a former Business Development Manager who transitioned to writing about sports. With valuable connections all over the West Coast, she has used those contacts to break some of the most interesting stories pertaining to the Portland Trail Blazers, Oregon Ducks, LA Lakers, LA Clippers, Seattle Supersonics (RIP), and more.