Ja Morant is back! Grizzlies star gets warm reception as he cheers on Memphis after eight-game ban for strip club gun scandal – with coach Terry Jenkins ‘hopeful’ he returns to court on Wednesday
Ja Morant is almost ready to return to an NBA floor, with coach Taylor Jenkins saying Wednesday is currently the target.
Memphis play vs. Houston Wednesday night in what could be Morant’s first game since a March 3 loss at Denver.
‘We’re hopeful for Wednesday, so long as everything medically clears out,’ head coach Taylor Jenkins said pregame before the Grizzlies took on Dallas Monday night.
Morant returned to the team Monday after two weeks away following an Instagram live in the early hours of March 4, showing the superstar flashing a gun inside a Denver strip club.
The former No. 2 overall pick was on the sidelines for the team’s game vs. the Mavericks at the FedEx Forum in downtown Memphis, TN, Monday.
Ja Morant received a warm reception as he returned to the FedEx Forum on Monday night
Morant, 23, found himself in trouble after flashing a gun at a night club on social media in Denver following a Grizzlies win against the Nuggets
On Sunday, the Grizzlies announced Morant would not play against Dallas because of a ‘Return to Competition Reconditioning.’
He arrived courtside just before tip-off and received a hearty ovation from the Memphis crowd. He then slapped hands with some of his teammates and was part of the line greeting starters as they prepared to begin the game.
Morant met with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver in New York City before the NBA announced his suspension on March 15, including six games he already had missed, eight in total.
The league investigation found that Morant was ‘holding a firearm in an intoxicated state’ — but did not prove the gun was owned by Morant ‘or was displayed by him beyond a brief period.’
The NBA also did not find that Morant had the gun with him on Memphis’ flight to Denver, or that he possessed the gun in any NBA facility.
Police in Colorado conducted their own investigation and concluded there was no reason to charge Morant with a crime after looking into the circumstances surrounding the video.
Morant said in an ESPN interview on March 15 that the gun was not his and that he takes full responsibility for his actions. But the strip club incident wasn’t Morant’s first eyebrow-raising move. The Grizzlies had been talking with Morant about his off-court conduct even before the March 4 incident.
‘I can see the image that I painted over myself with my recent mistakes,’ Morant told ESPN. ‘But in the future, I’m going to show everybody who Ja really is, what I’m about and change this narrative that everybody got.’
Morant was on hand to watch the Grizz in-person for the first time since his leave of absence
The former No. 2 overall pick is now eligible to return from a suspension imposed by the NBA