Nobody’s Going To Grizzlies Games To Watch Ja Morant’s Pals On The Court
4:09 PM EST on February 6, 2023
The Memphis Grizzlies' home game against the Indiana Pacers on Jan. 29 had a lot of jawing back and forth, but things boiled over sometime in the third quarter when Ja Morant's friend Davonte Pack and his father Tee Morant joined in the action, with Pack walking onto the court and swearing at several Pacers players. The game's officials stepped in, and Pack was ushered off the floor by arena security.
Factor in Dillon Brooks's swipe at Donovan Mitchell last week and his very public war of words with Shannon Sharpe last month (also involving Tee Morant), and there's something of a pattern: The Grizzlies keep getting in scraps as they aspire to be the new bad boys of the NBA. If you want to read it in good faith, you could say it's part of the growing pains of being such a young team. Danny Green and Steven Adams are the only guys over the age of 29 with playing time. They're arrogant, exciting, and high-octane; they want all the smoke, and like many young teams, they're probably too fixated on upholding this image at all times.
On the other hand, this can work against them. There's a danger of becoming the team that's scoffed at for being fake tough guys. The cockiness can get tiresome to opponents and fans, particularly when a team goes 2-8 in its last 10 games. To paraphrase Lonzo Ball from a few years ago, people don't really fight in the NBA. Everyone knows it, and for the Grizzlies to act like they're the new '90s Knicks is only going to irritate rather than intimidate.
It becomes a more serious issue when guys who don't even play for the Grizzlies are trying to pick fights. On Sunday, The Athletic reported that after the game against the Pacers, Morant's "acquaintances," including Pack, kept jawing with members of the visiting team and shined lasers at them. From the report:
After the game, the Pacers players, coaches and support staff entered the loading area to board a team bus. About 30 to 40 yards away from the bus were two parked cars. Pack and four to five other men emerged from the cars, walked to within 30 feet of the Pacers group and began shouting at them.
According to the sources, the remarks directed at them by Pack and others included: “Come get some of this” and “you don’t know how we roll” and “I’ll show you what I got.” Some Pacers players and others yelled back at them, according to the two people present. Pacers, NBA and arena security got between the two groups.
The verbal sparring continued intermittently for approximately 15 to 20 minutes, until Morant entered the loading area. He, Pack and the others dispersed into two vehicles. Morant, Pack and one other person got into an SUV, sources said. The first vehicle turned toward the bus before exiting up a ramp and out of the arena’s loading area. The SUV moved toward the Pacers bus, turned, slowed, and that was when members of the Pacers traveling party noticed a red laser coming from the car and being trained on players, coaches and others.
The lasers were considered the big story here, because a Pacers security guard was quoted as believing that Morant's friends were aiming guns at the group. There was no other evidence of that, and of course a security guard will assume everything's a gun. The NBA conducted an investigation, using interviews with eyewitnesses and security video footage, and found no evidence that there were weapons. It did ban "certain individuals involved in the postgame situation" from attending games, according to league spokesperson Mike Bass. Morant, who didn't play last night, confirmed that "my brother" was banned from the Grizzlies' arena for a year:
While it's not Ja Morant's responsibility to keep everyone from concern-trolling his circle, it wouldn't hurt for him to remind his dad and friends that they don't actually play for the Grizzlies. They're as much a part of the team as Salt Bae is of Argentina. They can't jump onto the court every time things get a little hot; otherwise the NBA will force more of them to watch the game on TV. Between their losses stacking up and Dillon Brooks's entire approach to the sport of basketball, the Grizzlies have enough on their plate as is.
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