Ja Morant of the Memphis Grizzlies has been accused of punching and flashing a gun at a 17-year-old, according to a police report.
The police report initially obtained by the Washington Post shows that Morant allegedly punched the teen “12 to 13 times” during a basic basketball game at his house last summer, just four days after he assaulted a mall security guard.
Last summer, in an encounter that has not been previously reported, the head of security at a Memphis mall told police that Morant ‘threatened’ him during an altercation in the parking lot, leaving him alarmed enough that he filed a police report. A member of Morant’s group shoved the director in the head, he told police. No arrests were made, records show.
Four days later, Morant repeatedly punched a teenage boy in the head during a pickup basketball game at Morant’s house, the boy told police. Morant and his friend struck the 17-year-old so hard they knocked him to the ground and left him with a ‘large knot’ on the side of his head, according to a police report narrative written by deputies who said they observed the boy’s injuries.
The teenager later told detectives that Morant then went into his house and re-emerged with “a gun visible in the waistband of his pants and his hand on the weapon.” Morant, however, told police that he “swung first” but only after the teen threw a ball directly at his hand. Morant believes that the teen aggressed him first before it escalated.
Morant also told police that the boy shouted as he left, “I’m gonna come back and light this place up like fireworks.” Morant filed a police report about the boy’s language, saying he had threatened his family.
The 23-year-old Morant has risen to star status in the NBA rather quickly by signing a deal with Nike as well as having a top-selling jersey.
Shelby County District Attorney’s office prosecutors said in a statement that they declined to press charges against Morant, believing that “there was not enough evidence to proceed with a case.”
Morant’s agent, Jim Tanner, called the allegations “unsubstantiated rumors and gossip” that are being spewed by “people motivated to tear Ja down and tarnish his reputation for their own financial gain.”
“Any and every allegation involving a firearm has been fully investigated and could not be corroborated. This includes the NBA investigation last month, in which they found no evidence,” Tanner said.
The Memphis Grizzlies issued no comment, but an NBA spokesperson said the league “takes allegations of inappropriate conduct very seriously.”
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