What did Ja Morant do? Explaining the Grizzlies star’s suspension to start 2023-24 NBA season

Grizzlies All-Star guard Ja Morant will make his season debut on Tuesday, Dec. 19 when Memphis visits the Pelicans.

Tuesday is Morant’s first time on an NBA floor in nearly eight months. He last played on April 28 when the Grizzlies lost to the Lakers in Game 6 of the first round of the 2023 NBA Playoffs.

After serving a 25-game suspension, Morant is set to return to a Grizzlies team that has reeled in his absence.

Here is why Morant was suspended for the first 25 games of the 2023-24 season.

WATCH: Follow Ja Morant’s 2023-24 season debut on Sling TV

What did Ja Morant do?

On June 16, the NBA announced that Morant had been suspended 25 games without pay for “conduct detrimental to the league.”

Morant’s suspension was related to two incidents live-streamed on social media. The NBA’s release cites an incident on May 13 when he posed with a firearm during an Instagram Live video.

Here is what the NBA’s investigation of the incident yielded:

The league office found that, on May 13, Morant intentionally and prominently displayed a gun while in a car with several other individuals as they were leaving a social gathering in Memphis.  Morant wielded the firearm while knowing that he was being recorded and that the recording was being live streamed on Instagram Live.

The live-streamed incident in May came less than two months after he was suspended for displaying a firearm on Instagram Live “while in an intoxicated state at a Denver area nightclub.”

Following his eight-game suspension in March, Morant made commitments to the NBA and public statements that he would not repeat the conduct for which he had already been disciplined. Morant’s 25-game suspension was a product of his repeating the same conduct that earned him an eight-game suspension during the 2022-23 season.

MORE: How Ja Morant’s Instagram videos sent him down path toward suspension

Ja Morant suspension details

Following the conclusion of the 2022-23 season, the NBA announced the specifics of Morant’s suspension. Morant, who is in the first year of a max-scale contract extension, was suspended without pay for the first 25 games of the year.

According to Spotrac, Morant was set to earn north of $34 million this season. Because of his suspension, Morant has forfeited just over $7 million of his salary.

Despite being suspended, Morant has been permitted to participate in training camp and practices. On game days, Morant has been allowed in the arena up until two hours before game time. 

Per Commissioner Adam Silver, Morant was “required to formulate and fulfill a program with the league that directly addresses the circumstances that led him to repeat this destructive behavior” prior to his return to play.

On Dec. 15, Morant spoke with reporters for the first time since he was suspended. He showed contrition and took responsibility for Memphis’ poor start in his absence.

MORE: Ja Morant takes blame for Grizzlies’ poor start in first presser since suspension

Memphis Grizzlies’ statement on Ja Morant

Following Morant’s live-streamed incident in May, the Grizzlies suspended Morant from all team activities pending NBA review.

In response to the NBA’s ruling in June, the Grizzlies organization offered the following statement:

We respect the League’s decision to suspend Ja Morant following this latest episode. Our standards as a league and team are clear, and we expect that all team personnel will adhere to them.


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