Without stepping foot on an NBA court over the last four days, Ja Morant continues to be the talk of the league in his indefinite time away from the Memphis Grizzlies.
Mychal Thompson, a two-time NBA champion and father of Klay Thompson, weighed in on the situation and even offered some fatherly advice on KNBR’s “Murph and Mac” podcast Monday morning.
“Get rid of your crew, get rid of the people around you, keep your inner circle tight,” Thompson said. “Your father, your sister, your mother, your family, and watch the people around you. You have to get rid of the people around you because they obviously don’t care about you if they let you put yourself in this kind of situation. They don’t care about you.
“If you have a friend who really cares about you and your image and what you have at stake, he would tell you, ‘Hey Ja, don’t do it, don’t do it.'”
The NBA announced it is investigating Morant after the Memphis guard appeared to flash a gun in an Instagram Live video Friday night following the Grizzlies’ road loss to the Denver Nuggets. The team announced that Morant would miss at least their next two games.
Colorado police said Monday they are also investigating Morant’s actions, and the Glendale Police Department confirmed the video took place at a bar in Glendale.
Thompson doesn’t think it’s too late for Morant to fix his image and believes he should look to other managers around the league as examples.
“I just think he has too many ‘yes men’ around him who are afraid to tell him what he’s doing wrong,” Thompson said. “He needs to follow the example of LeBron James or Steph Curry. These young men have been blessed with riches beyond belief, but look at the people they have around them. Look at LeBron’s crew that he grew up with, look at what they have built.
“The empire of Rich Paul, Maverick Carter, Randy Mims — those are the guys he brought to the NBA. Look at the way they conduct themselves as professionals, as adults, as mature young men. And look at that business empire, LeBron’s friends has built up around him. So those are the kinds of people that Ja needs around him, who have his best interest at heart, and who can be mature adults and know how to behave in public — and in private.”
Morant released a statement Saturday saying he takes “full responsibility” for his actions and will take some time away from the team to get help.
Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins said Sunday after the team’s loss to the Los Angeles Clippers that there is no timetable for Morant’s return. The Grizzlies have another game in Los Angeles on Tuesday night against the Lakers before returning to Memphis for a game against the Warriors on Thursday.
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Thompson knows his words or those of someone outside don’t really matter to Morant. It will be those close to him who will help him during this process.
“Someone from his family needs to sit him down and say, ‘Listen, you can’t act like that in public. You have an image, you’re the face of the NBA going forward because you’re Ja Morant.'” Thompson said. “He’s the most exciting player in the game. He’s right up there with Steph and LeBron as far as being kids’ favorite to watch.”
Whoever it is that can talk to Morant, it will be up to the young star to be willing to listen.
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