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Yes, Morant needs to focus less on his fame and more on his life

Yes, Morant needs to focus less on his fame and more on his life

Forget Ja Morant, the NBA star of the Memphis Grizzlies.

Forget the NBA salary and lucrative off-field sponsorships. For hundreds of millions of dollars.

This isn’t about basketball and money.

This is about the person Ja Morant and who he wants to be and become.

Videos and images of Morant seemingly holding a pistol while sitting in a car circulated on social media on Sunday. The Grizzlies have suspended Morant from all team activities and the NBA is gathering more information, league spokesman Mike Bass said.

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This comes two months after the league suspended Morant for eight games without pay for “holding a firearm while intoxicated” at a Denver-area strip club.

OPINION:What’s next for Ja Morant’s NBA career? The choice is his.

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At the time, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver described Morant’s behavior as “irresponsible, reckless and potentially very dangerous.” Given his massive following and influence, especially among young fans who look up to him, it also comes with serious implications. He has expressed his sincere remorse and regret for his behavior. Ja also made it clear to me that he learned from this incident and that he understands that his obligations and responsibilities to the Memphis Grizzlies and the broader NBA community extend far beyond his play on the court.”

It appears that Morant’s remorse and remorse were temporary and that he learned nothing from the incident and does not understand his duties and responsibilities to the Grizzlies and the broader NBA community.

Let’s hypothesize that Morant was holding a toy or fake gun in his latest video, but he still doesn’t get the message he’s sending. (Quickly aside: who are Morant’s friends putting this out on social media, by the way?)

In an interview with ESPN’s Jalen Rose in March, Morant said of the first gun video, “That’s not who I am.” He said he takes “full responsibility.”

Perhaps. Maybe not. Hard to say today. The evidence does not support Morant’s statements. I wrote with empathy in March. He has two directions and the choice is his. He is currently on the wrong track, even after spending 11 days at an in-depth counseling facility in Florida.

He hasn’t handled fame and fortune well, but I maintain that empathy. Basketball should be at the bottom of the list of priorities Morant needs to address. More help is needed, but that’s on him too.

Morant also has to deal with the league.

Silver was the benevolent disciplinarian in March. His tone was stern but caring. I don’t expect the same goodwill if the League investigation reveals that Morant has once again been reckless with a gun.

Morant has violated the League’s code of conduct for a second time and flagrantly disregarded it. He has been involved in other troubling incidents, including one in which he threatened a mall security officer, according to a report by the Memphis Police Department.

Silver believed what Morant had to say when the two, along with others, met in New York in March. Morant was serving a light eight-game suspension but has now embarrassed the league.

There were some who thought Morant would be handed an extended suspension in March, but in general that wasn’t Silver’s approach to punishment. That could change with Morant. Should there be another suspension, this is likely to have a significant impact.

Morant doesn’t need a basketball right now anyway. He has to decide what he wants to do with his life. His choice. And all the consequences – good or bad – that come with it.

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