Ja Morant makes his return after serving a 25-game suspension
The GIST: Last night, embattled Memphis Grizzlies superstar Ja Morant made an emphatic return to the court for the first time this season, hitting a buzzer-beating game-winner in a 34-point effort after serving a 25-game suspension.
The off-court context: Back in March, Morant flashed a gun on Instagram Live, drawing an eight-game suspension. Then in May, just two weeks after the Grizzlies’ first-round playoff elimination, Morant repeated the same reckless offense.
- After a full investigation, the NBA handed the two-time All-Star a 25-game suspension and privately informed him of the conditions he’d have to meet before rejoining the league.
- Ahead of last night’s return, a refreshingly vulnerable Morant spoke openly about how therapy has changed his outlook on life, calling his time away “eye-opening.”
The on-court effect: Morant led his team in both points and assists last season, lifting the Grizzlies to the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference before their early playoff exit. But they’ve struggled in his absence, going 6-19 before Morant’s season debut while notably dealing with major roster injuries.
- All to say Memphis (and superstars around the league) were overjoyed to see his storybook return in last night’s nail-biting 115–113 win over the New Orleans Pelicans. A major step forward.