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NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the league stands ready to help Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant, suspended after a live-streamed video last month appeared to show him holding a handgun – his second such video.
Speaking Thursday on the “Dan Patrick Show,” Silver reiterated he won’t announce the results of a league investigation into the video and any punishment until after the NBA Finals.
The Grizzlies took swift action and suspended Morant indefinitely from team activities following the May 14 video.
Silver said any punishment meted out will include carving a different path for Morant off the court.
“It’s important to point out that this is not about just discipline, and then we’ll just cross our fingers and then hope there’s not a third time,” Silver told Patrick. “I recognize that he needs some assistance you know, from the league office, his union, his team.”
“No doubt he’s a remarkable player, and I think he’s a very engaging young man. It’s one of the reasons he has this enormous following on social media, but it’s a two-edged sword, and he has to own that and take responsibility for it,” he added.
“And my hope is that wherever we come out (with) in terms of discipline, that there’s an acceptance that we need to find ways to engage with each other going forward so he can change the trajectory he’s now on, which is not a positive one.”
Silver said he is committed to helping Morant, 23, with his personal development.
“We’re gonna focus on him as a young man developing as a better person, as someone who’s more responsible. Particularly when it comes to guns. I mean, this is a really serious issue,” Silver said.
It was the second time in three months that Morant was caught with an apparent firearm on social media. He previously was suspended eight games and sought counseling after a March 4 incident in which he filmed himself holding a gun at a Denver strip club following a loss to the Nuggets.
A report surfaced earlier this week that said the apparent weapon Morant brandished in the most recent video could have been a toy, and Silver said the NBA is looking into that.
He wouldn’t say whether Morant holding a fake gun would make a difference but said he was “incredibly disappointed” to see Morant live streaming what looked like a handgun.
“I’m not going to get into the specifics of the investigation,” the commissioner said, “but in fact, if you are live streaming something that to the world looks exactly like a gun, and in a frankly, reckless manner, should it matter whether or not it’s a real gun?”
Morant is coming off his fourth season with Memphis since the Grizzlies selected him with the second overall pick in the 2019 draft.
A two-time All-Star, Morant averaged 26.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 8.1 assists in 61 games (59 starts) in 2022-2023. – Rappler.com