ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith has warned Ja Morant that the NBA has connections within the FBI, insisting it’s impossible to hide your misconduct from them after he appeared to flash a gun at a strip club Friday night.
The Memphis Grizzlies star is suspended for at least two games and the investigation into the incident is ongoing, with the two-time All-Star facing criticism from analysts and fans alike.
Smith was no different, urging Morant to wise up and realize that it’s impossible to stay under the radar when the league is constantly watching you.
“We don’t tell these players this that often,” Smith said on NBA Countdown. “NBA has off-duty police officers. They have connections to the FBI. They have connections with everyone.
“The NBA knows what you’re doing. They know who you’re doing. They know where you are. And they always know how you behave.’
Yes Morant appeared to be holding up a gun in an Instagram Live video in the wee hours of Saturday
He then addressed the 23-year-old Morant directly, adding, “You have a deal that starts next year that could exceed $231 million over the next five years. And in this program, on national television, you are associated with the police.
‘Just think about that. And then ask yourself: is it really, really worth it? You know the answer to that, mate. It is not worth it.’
Incredibly, Friday night’s video — which took place on Morant’s own Instagram page when he appears to be holding a gun next to his head — is the fourth recent alleged gun-related incident he’s been involved in.
Morant was charged in September for allegedly punching a Tennessee teenager in the face during a pick-up game, something the NBA star claims was in self-defense.
New details from police interviews obtained by The Washington Post revealed that the 17-year-old Shelby County Sheriff’s Office detectives told the point guard hit him “12 to 13 times,” adding that Morant’s boyfriend hit him an additional “four to five times.” time.’
The teen claimed that when he got up to leave after the fight, Morant entered his home and reappeared with a gun.
ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith (L) warned Morant that the NBA is always watching closely
Morant released a statement saying he will take some time off to get help
Morant reportedly had the gun visible in the waistband of his pants and had his hand on the gun.
In a baffling incident just days after the report was released, Morant sparked even more controversy — this time during an NBA game — when he threw a gun party after watching a teammate shoot a three-pointer.
The unsavory moment occurred Wednesday night when the Memphis Grizzlies took on the Houston Rockets, with Morant watching from the bench as Desmond Bane tapped a three-point effort for his teammates.
Morant was thrilled by the shot and celebrated by pretending to shoot a gun at Bane as he ran onto the floor in defense.
Morant was also involved in a separate incident at a Memphis mall last summer after the New York Post reported that the chief of security told police that Morant had “threatened” him during an altercation in the parking lot.
Morant played for the Grizzlies in Denver on Friday night, just hours before the Instagram clip
Grizzlies’ Morant was spotted during a game this week pretending to fire a shotgun
Morant’s mother reportedly got into an argument with a shoe store employee at the mall and called her son, who arrived shortly afterwards with a group of “as many as nine people.”
According to the police report, Morant and his friends refused to leave the parking lot when confronted by the mall’s director of security.
Police arrived and a “verbal confrontation” reportedly escalated before someone in Morant’s entourage shoved the security chief at the head.
“As the group left the premises… Ja Morant said, ‘Let me find out what time he gets out,'” the police wrote in the report.
Additionally, there was an unsavory incident after the Grizzlies’ game with the Pacers on January 29, when acquaintances of Ja Morant “aggressively confronted” members of Indiana’s touring party and pointed a red laser at them.
The athletic said that Morant was driving an SUV with friend Davonte Pack and another person when a red laser was pointed at the Pacers bus.
Last summer, an alleged incident occurred at Morant’s mansion outside of Memphis (pictured)
Morant is a big name in the NBA but has been involved in a range of different controversies
Memphis was badly beaten by the Nuggets, but Morant appeared in good spirits throughout
Two people who spoke anonymously to the publication said they believed the laser was attached to a gun, while an Indiana guard nearby claimed “that’s 100 percent a gun.” However, it has not been confirmed that the laser was attached to a weapon.
The incident sparked a competition investigation and appears to have shaken those involved.
“We felt we were in great danger,” said one attendee.
On Saturday night, Morant released a statement taking responsibility for his actions and explaining that he would be taking time off from the game to work on his well-being.
“I take full responsibility for my actions last night,” he said. “I am sorry to my family, teammates, coaches, fans, partners, the city of Memphis and the entire Grizzlies organization for letting you down.
“I’m going to take some time out to get help and work on learning better methods of coping with stress and my overall well-being.”