23-year-old Memphis Grizzlies sensation Ja Morant has been in a lot of hot water recently, most of which centers around his absurd affinity for guns. The two-time All-Star was already on thin ice with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver due to multiple off-the-court incidents, including a he could now be looking at a lengthier punishment for being seen waving a gun around on a social media post.
Morant received his second suspension after he flashed a gun on an Instagram live session with his friend, Davonte Pack. Silver could potentially hand down more repercussions if Morant can’t curb his behavior, which would potentially derail his promising career.
However, ESPN commentator JJ Redick was among a few League ‘experts’ who claimed that the player shouldn’t be penalized for something that’s not technically illegal. While that may be true, it’s not a very popular take on a young player who has repeatedly shown bad judgment.
One of the people who took issue with Redick’s opinion was fellow NBA analyst and Hall of Famer Charles Barkley. The 1993 MVP said that anyone who tried to dismiss Morant’s latest slip-up was an “idiot”.
Charles Barkley goes off on people on television defending Ja Morant.
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) May 18, 2023
“We got some idiots, some fools, some jackasses on television that really just pisses me off,” Barkley said on the NBA on TNT. “Talking about Ja should make a stance… that he didn’t break any laws. He didn’t do anything wrong. We are in a state where you can carry your guns. They’re just freaking idiots! I just wanna say freaking because I can’t say what I wanna say.”
Charles Barkley then said that the mercurial, young star needs to make better decisions and appreciate the unique opportunities he’s been given.
“When you’re making $100 million a year to play sports, your life changes. There are certain rules and regulations that you have to live by, plain and simple. You can’t do stupid stuff! That’s the trade-off.”
The sentiments of Charles Barkley are shared by many around the NBA, who are frustrated by Morant’s pattern of behavior.
Morant said during his last suspension, which was handed down after he allegedly assaulted and threatened a teenager at a nightclub. At the time, he did an interview with Jalen Rose, where he suggested he was going to do what Charles Barkley suggested this week: Take the time to reflect, seek counseling, and come back a changed man.
“It’s not who I am. I don’t condone any type of violence, but I take full responsibility for my actions,” Morant said during the interview. “I made a bad mistake, and I can see the image that I painted over myself with my recent mistakes, but in the future, I’m going to show everybody who Ja really is, what I’m about, and change this narrative.”
If Morant is serious about that last part, then he needs to start working on that narrative immediately. Because as of right now, he’s been writing a neverending story of trouble and turmoil.