Grizzlies Ja Morant rises as prime candidate for NBA’s future face in post-LeBron James era

The rise of Ja Morant was inevitable, given his exceptional athleticism and undeniable skills on the basketball court. From the moment Morant stepped foot on the hardwood, fans knew they were witnessing something special. While his off-court antics have sparked separate discussions, it is on the court where Morant truly shines.

Drawing comparisons to basketball icons, his ability to control the game’s tempo and dazzling court vision have cemented his status as one of the league’s most exciting prospects. As the torch is set to be passed from James, Morant stands poised to become the new face of the NBA, but the question is, will he do it?

Gilbert Arenas predicts Ja Morant as NBA’s future face

Gilbert Arenas, a former NBA player, has made a bold prediction about Ja Morant being the future face of the league.

Despite the struggling Memphis Grizzlies’ campaign, Arenas believes in Morant’s abilities to turn things around and lead the team to the playoffs. Currently sitting at 13th in the Western Conference with six wins and 19 losses, the Grizzlies are desperately in need of a boost and Morant is set to return to action after serving a 25-game suspension due to gun-toting videos.

Arenas, on his show called Gil’s Arena, advised Morant to have faith in himself as he makes his comeback. He emphasized that the Grizzlies would need to convince themselves first if they want to make a postseason push. Arenas even went on to say, “If Ja gets them to the playoffs, he is on God mode,” implying that Morant’s stock as a player would skyrocket.

However, skepticism remains regarding the Grizzlies’ chances. With a win percentage below 25%, some wonder if the team would prefer not to make the playoffs and instead aim for a higher draft position. Arenas pointed out that without Morant, the team’s lack of talent becomes evident.

Interestingly, Arenas feels a personal connection with Ja Morant’s story due to their shared troubled history involving guns. In 2010, Arenas received an indefinite suspension for brandishing a gun against Javaris Crittenton. Both players have dealt with the aftermath of such incidents, including depression and anxiety.

Despite all this, recent scandals have overshadowed the Morant controversy, and the young talent has found himself under a lot of scrutiny and pressure.

Morant asserts self-defense in testimony over 2022 teen altercation

Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant testified on Monday, claiming self-defense in an altercation with a teenager at his home in July 2022. The incident occurred during a pickup basketball game, with 17-year-old Joshua Holloway accusing Morant of assault.

Currently under a 25-game NBA suspension, Morant also faces a civil suit, but an immunity hearing could potentially lead to a dismissal if he can prove self-defense. However, if self-defense cannot be established, the trial will proceed in April 2024.

Ja Morant

During the testimony, Ja Morant described the basketball as a “weapon” and asserted that he struck first to protect himself, stating that Holloway’s actions posed a threat. This legal issue compounds Morant’s off-court challenges, including his suspension for “conduct deemed detrimental to the league” related to firearm incidents.

Morant’s testimony transcript from ESPN reveals that Holloway’s attorney questioned him about the basketball being a lethal weapon, to which Morant responded, “It hurt.”

Ja Morant explained that when he confronted Holloway with the question, “What you on?” Holloway did not respond but instead pulled up his shorts, which Morant interpreted as a fighting stance. Feeling threatened, Morant took a step forward and punched Holloway, stating, “I hit him first — to protect myself.”

While Morant received an eight-game suspension for displaying a firearm in a Denver-area nightclub, it seems he can’t catch a break at the moment. And the case is far from over.

Sami Haider

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Sami Haider is an NBA writer at SportsKnot. His foray into basketball scriptwriting started in 2020, when he was enthralled by the Los Angeles Lakers' NBA championship victory. His previous experience was limited to dribbling and dunking as a neighborhood kid. His insightful writings show how much he loves the sport. His writing goes beyond numbers and scores, giving readers a unique viewpoint on the players, teams, and events that define the basketball scene. Whether you're a die-hard fan or a casual observer, Sami's work is essential for anybody trying to expand their knowledge and love of the NBA.


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