WWE NXT star reps Memphis Grizzlies player during championship match

Steven Adams, Memphis Grizzlies (Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports)
Steven Adams, Memphis Grizzlies (Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) /

A WWE NXT star was seen wearing the high school jersey of a prominent Memphis Grizzlies player during the Nov. 1 episode of WWE NXT, the developmental professional wrestling program that airs shows live every Tuesday on the USA Network.

The wrestler, Carmelo Hayes, sported a black and purple “Crestwood” jersey with the No. 12 emblazoned on the front of the jersey— the same sort of jersey that was once worn by none other than current Memphis Grizzlies superstar Ja Morant.

WWE’s Carmelo Hayes wore high school jersey of Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant during Nov. 1 NXT show

Hayes, who’s real name is Christian Brigham, is a 28-year-old professional wrestler who made his debut with the WWE under the NXT brand in 2021 after spending half a decade on the independent circuit.

It’s not known if the Worcester, Mass. native has any direct relationship with Morant, but his in-ring character as a lot of the same traits as the NBA superstar Ja Morant.

His bio from the WWE talks about his “overdog” mentality and how big of an up-and-coming talent he will be for the professional wrestling giant.

"Debuting in June of 2021, the dynamic Hayes hit NXT with strong efforts against the very best, including Adam Cole and then-NXT Cruiserweight Championship Kushida. Through it all, Hayes never considered himself the underdog, but rather the “overdog” with a consistent confidence that he was just that good."

Ja Morant has a similar mentality, looking to take on any and all NBA stars by challenging them at the rim. He’s never been known to back down from a challenge and plays with a swagger backed up by his incredible performances on the court.

Whether it’s LeBron James, Stephen Curry, or Luka Doncic, Morant knows his talent can stack up the best players in the NBA, which is probably why WWE NXT superstar Carmelo Hayes decided to pay homage to the Grizzlies star by wearing his high school jersey.

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Morant’s 33.3 ppg is one of the highest in the league and his 6.3 apg and 4.5 rpg have propelled him into early conversations for NBA MVP during the 2022-23 season.