Authorities in Tennessee have confirmed that they conducted a welfare check on Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant on Wednesday. This came after he posted several cryptic messages and pictures on his Instagram account. Morant shared messages and pictures saying “Love ya ma [blue heart emoji],” “Love ya pops [blue heart emoji]” and “You da greatest baby girl [blue heart emoji] love ya.” He then followed those with a post that simply said, “Bye.” However, the police have said that he is just “taking a break from social media.”
This is not the first time that Morant has made headlines for off-court incidents. On May 13, a video of him holding a gun circulated on social media, causing him to be suspended from all team activities. Morant left the Grizzlies and entered a counseling program in March after a video showed him holding a gun while intoxicated at a Denver club when the Grizzlies were in town to play the Nuggets. He was eventually suspended eight games after meeting with NBA commissioner Adam Silver, who called Morant’s conduct “irresponsible, reckless and potentially very dangerous.”
Morant is also being sued by a high school prospect after a fight during a pickup game in his backyard. The teenager claims that Morant and his friend, Davonte Pack, punched him in the head during the altercation. The teenager also alleged that Morant entered his house after the fight and came back outside with a gun in his waistband.
Contract and Endorsement Deals
Despite the controversies, Morant’s basketball career has been successful. He has a five-year, $194 million max contract set to begin this season. It could have escalated to a supermax if he had made All-NBA this season, but he was not voted onto that team, which cost him about $39 million in future earnings. Morant has endorsement deals with Nike and Powerade, though the sports drink company pulled an ad featuring Morant after the March video and the ad is currently not running.
Morant has been a key player for the Grizzlies, averaging 26.2 points this season and helping Memphis secure the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference playoffs. However, his behavior off the court has raised concerns among fans, teammates, and officials. It remains to be seen how the Grizzlies will handle the situation and how Morant will respond to the recent controversies.
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