The 5 Most interesting Grizzlies for the 2023-24 Season

Memphis Grizzlies center Steven Adams-Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
Memphis Grizzlies center Steven Adams-Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports /
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Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant
Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports /

1. Ja Morant

Are we having this conversation? Yeah, let’s have this conversation.

It would be disingenuous to rank anyone other than Ja Morant number one on the list of most interesting Grizzlies, but lately, it’s for all the wrong reasons. He still would have topped this list before his behavior made him into the antithesis of a role model, but his recent disciplinary run-ins have added new depth to his humanity. Much of this article has been fun, but the finish is going to be anything but.

Morant’s young career has been a tale of two players. One is an explosive downhill finisher on a level we plainly have never seen before, capable of unlimited greatness and offensive production that can bury anyone unlucky enough to draw his assignment. The other is a deeply flawed person off the court, one who fails to live up to reasonable expectations of maturity and is unable to break patterns of self-destructive behavior.

The only public interview that Morant has given about two incidents—both of which saw him brandish a firearm on Instagram Live—came after the first with Jalen Rose, a blatantly superficial interview that failed to demand the specific measures Morant would take to clean up his act.

Whatever rehabilitation he attempted failed, because it happened again. Now Morant faces a 25-game suspension to think about it. He let his teammates down, and the Grizzlies will have to find a way to remain competitive for the first third of the season without him.

But worse than that, he let his admirers down, and failed as a role model for the millions of kids who think he is the coolest thing ever. That kind of image comes with almost unachievable status and fame but also with a heavy burden to live up to. I’m not saying it’s easy, but Morant’s actions during his rise to stardom have gone in the completely other direction.

Question: What are you going to do about it?

The past year should have been Morant’s coronation as one of the league’s best players, but instead it’s been detrimental to his life and brand. But crises—even like Morant’s case, where they seem like earth-shattering disasters—all come with the same deal: how are you going to react to it? Damage has been done, but Morant has a choice going forward. Will he do more damage to himself or tighten up his life? After all, the only damage he should be doing is on the hardwood floor.