Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant has been suspended eight games without pay for conduct prejudicial to the league, the NBA announced Wednesday.
The suspension covers the six games he misses, including Wednesday at Miami. Morant is eligible to play on Monday against Dallas, the same day he is able to rejoin the Grizzlies in the team environment.
Morant met with NBA commissioner Adam Silver in New York on Wednesday over his handling of a firearm at a suburban Denver nightclub earlier this month.
“Ja’s behavior was irresponsible, reckless and potentially very dangerous,” Silver said in a statement. “It also has serious implications given his huge following and influence, especially among young fans who look up to him. He has expressed genuine regret and remorse for his behavior. Yes has also made it clear to me that he has learned of this incident and that he understands his obligations and responsibilities to the Memphis Grizzlies and the broader NBA community go far beyond his play on the court.”
The league said based on the information obtained during its investigation, it did not conclude that the gun in question belonged to Morant, was brought by him to the nightclub or was displayed by him beyond a short period of time. The investigation also did not find that Morant possessed the gun while traveling with the team or in any NBA facility, and Colorado authorities did not find sufficient grounds to charge Morant with a crime.
Morant has sought help for what he described in a statement as a need “to get help and work on learning better ways to manage stress and my overall well-being,” and that has brought him out of Memphis on a leave of absence from the team , sources said. Morant entered a counseling program shortly after making the announcement.
The franchise had announced that Morant, 23, would be out at least through Wednesday’s game against the Miami Heat. The Grizzlies said they would continue to prioritize Morant’s desire and need for help after a series of troubling incidents that culminated in him brandishing a gun at a suburban Denver nightclub on his Instagram live feed on the 4 . March.
The NBA opened an ongoing investigation into the matter, and Wednesday’s meeting with Silver was the final step in that process.
Morant, a two-time All-Star, is a former Rookie of the Year and the Most Improved Player for one of the rising franchises in the league. Before the Grizzlies’ game against the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night, Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins told reporters that “Yes is fully committed to this process and ready for whatever comes after the next two games.”
Morant began his Instagram Live session at 5:19 a.m. ET, hours after the Grizzlies’ 113-97 loss to the Denver Nuggets last Saturday. Morant could be seen holding a gun with his left hand. Morant deactivated both his Instagram and Twitter accounts later that day.
In a statement, Morant said he takes “full responsibility for my actions last night.”
“I am sorry to my family, teammates, coaches, fans, partners, the city of Memphis and the entire organization for letting you down,” the statement read. “I’m going to spend some time getting help and working on learning better ways to deal with stress and my overall well-being.”
Nike, which has a signature shoe line with Morant, endorsed the Grizzlies star in a statement shortly after.
“We appreciate Ja’s accountability and that he takes the time to get the help he needs,” the statement read. “We support his prioritization of his well-being.”
ESPN’s Tim MacMahon contributed to this report.