Ja Morant Image Credit: (ABC24 Memphis Youtube Thumbnail)

Ja Morant Learned the Hard Way That ‘Being About That Life’ Is Always Costly

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We’ve all been told about “that life” and the “thug life” from hip-hop and our friends and family. And in almost every example, those lives never have a happy ending.

We witnessed the repercussions of the thug life with the murders of Biggie and Tupac.

We saw how “that life” almost ended the career of Jay-Z after he stabbed Lance “Un” Rivera over a beef that derived from either accusations of bootlegging or feelings for rapper Charli Baltimore.

We watched as it took years away from the dynamic career of Michael Vick after his involvement in dog fighting.

In these incidents, and almost every other incident involving ego, attitude and the inability to see the big picture, people were hurt and lives were changed. Some temporarily but for others and their families, permanently.

“That life” has permeated the lives of far too many young Black men, and many aren’t fortunate enough to escape the harsh reality it unscathed.

Some are innocent bystanders. Others are products of their environment or reluctant participants in the street culture that sweeps up and discards without hesitation.

The latest example is NBA superstar, Ja Morant.

The Memphis Grizzlies star’s NBA ascent is well documented. A mostly unheralded player from South Carolina who rose to become an All-American at Murray State and the second overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft by the Memphis Grizzlies. And he hasn’t looked back since.

Not until recently, that is.

Being “About That Life” Always Ends Badly

Last week, Morant was accused of threatening the head of security at a mall in Memphis last summer.

The confrontation came after Morant’s mother was involved in a dispute at a Foot Locker in the mall and when Ja and his crew showed up, things escalated from there. According to the police report, after police arrived and things were settling down, Morant said “let me find out what time he gets off.” That frightened the security guard and caused him to file a police report.

Less than a week after the mall incident, Ja was accused of punching a 17-year-old boy and brandishing a gun at a pickup game in Memphis.

Then came the postgame incident between the Grizzlies and Pacers in which Pacers players accused Ja’s crew of flashing a red laser at them from an SUV, which led them to believe a gun was in their vehicle.

Those incidents snowballed into the massively serious situation Ja is now embroiled in.

First, he brandished a gun at a Colorado nightclub while going live on IG. That display of foolishness spurred Colorado authorities and the NBA to investigate whether the Grizzlies star brought the gun onto team property, which is absolutely prohibited by the league’s Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Section 9. Firearms and Other Weapons. (a) Whenever a player is physically present at a facility or venue owned, operated, or being used by a Team, the NBA, or any League-related entity, and whenever a player is traveling on any NBA-related business, whether on behalf of the player’s Team, the NBA, or any League-related entity, such player shall not possess a firearm of any kind or any other deadly weapon. For purposes of the foregoing, “a facility or venue” includes, but is not limited to: an arena; a practice facility; a Team or League office or facility; an All-Star or NBA Playoff venue; and the site of a promotional or charitable appearance.

(c) Any violation of Section 9(a) or Section 9(b) above shall be considered conduct prejudicial to the NBA under Article 35(d) of the NBA Constitution and By-Laws, and shall therefore subject the player to discipline by the NBA in accordance with such Article.  

As backlash ensued, the team tweeted that “Ja Morant will be away from the team for at least the next two games.”

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