Grizzlies' Ja Morant drops truth bomb on rivalry with Victor Wembanyama

San Antonio Spurs v Memphis Grizzlies
San Antonio Spurs v Memphis Grizzlies / Justin Ford/GettyImages

Though Tuesday night was the second time the Memphis Grizzlies and San Antonio Spurs squared off against one another during this 2023-24 campaign, it marked the first-ever NBA matchup between superstar Ja Morant and rising star Victor Wembanyama.

As has been the case whenever the rookie phenom has squared off against one of the league's elite talents, this affair was tabbed by many fans and media pundits alike as a "must watch" and, through 48 minutes of action, it didn't disappoint.

The game proved to be a back and fourth affair, with both teams splitting quarter wins at 2-2 a piece. Fortunately for Memphis, they created a commanding 80-68 edge heading into the fourth and, ultimately, never relinquished their lead, pulling away from the night with a hard-fought 106-98 victory.

While nabbing win number 11 should certainly be the most celebrated outcome from the contest, on numerous occasions, Morant and Wembanyama were found going head to head, with highlight plays being exchanged left and right and, as a result, a raucous FedEx Forum crowd made their presence felt throughout.

However, despite the fanfare of their individual matchup, following the contest the Grizzlies guard downplayed the notion of there being any semblance of a strong rivalry between him and the 7-foot-4 stud.

Grizzlies star Ja Morant downplays rivalry with Victor Wembanyama

"The moment [of going against Wembanyama] was just like any other moment for me when somebody guards me. My goal is to score."

Ja Morant

Within the first few minutes of play, the two were seen squaring off against one another, a moment that got the crowd overwhelmingly riled up. To the dismay of the homers, in this particular instance, it was the rookie who prevailed, as he packed a driving lay-in attempt against the glass.

However, later on in the game, Morant got revenge on the likes of Wembanyama as he slammed home a dunk after pulling off a right-to-left crossover on a dribble drive to the rack.

To some, this jam was believed to have "extra incentive" attached to it after the first quarter swat, though Morant once again downplayed the hype postgame when addressing the specific play.

"Nah. I didn't get no, like, 'wake up,' [or] like 'yea, I'mma go.' It wasn't no excitement. I don't try to dunk on people like I used to no more. Just get a bucket, man."

Ja Morant

On top of the presumed growth Morant has made as an individual since being issued his second suspension over a 10-month span, the recent backlash he's received regarding his decision-making in the name of celebration very well may have had an impact on his downplaying of the matchup against Wembanyama.

In the end, the Grizzlies star closed out the game with an impressive stat line of 26 points, 10 assists, 5 rebounds, 1 steal and, most importantly, a win