Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant is facing a lawsuit brought by an anonymous 17-year-old that alleges Morant punched him in the face during a pickup basketball game.
The lawsuit alleges that during a pickup game near Morant’s home in July, the plaintiff threw a basketball that “accidentally” hit Morant in the face. Morant then confronted the teen and struck the teen in the face knocking him to the ground.
The claims get worse as Morant allegedly continued to strike the teen when he was on the ground and his friend, Davonte Pack, joined in and also began hitting the teen. The fight was broken up by bystanders and the teen was escorted from the area.
Terrible look for the NBA
If these claims hold up in court, this is a terrible look for one of the NBA’s biggest stars.
Morant has already admitted he struck the individual but claims the altercation was in self-defense. Furthermore, Morant alleges that “he and his family were put in fear” as the teen made threatening statements.
The case was dismissed in October by the district attorney who chose not to prosecute the 6-foot, 2-inch Morant for his alleged beating of the teen.
Morant also told police officers that responded to the incident that the teen threatened to “light his house up,” which may have explained the seemingly unnecessary physical response from Morant and Pack.
Memphis Grizzlies Head Coach Taylor Jenkins has so far refused to comment on the lawsuit and the incident appears to have flown under the radar with the NBA’s organizational leaders.
Nonetheless, the teen and his legal representatives are going full steam ahead with their lawsuit against Morant.
Adelman Law Firm, which is representing the alleged victim, issued a statement saying, “This is a tragic situation involving an assault and battery by two adults on a minor during a basketball game at the home of Mr. Morant. Our client’s mental and physical well-being now and in his future are our priorities. We do not intend to make any further comments on this pending lawsuit and request that no further efforts be made to contact our client or his family.”
The Shelby County DA’s Office also issued a statement saying “The DA’s office is aware of the incident, and after a careful review of the facts, decided that there was not enough evidence to proceed with a case. We cannot comment on a pending lawsuit.”
Outcome of lawsuit
While Morant faces no criminal charges in this case, he could very well be found civilly liable for the incident considering the age of the plaintiff and the circumstances around the fight.
No matter what it looks bad for the NBA to have one of its biggest young stars beating up a minor and having another adult join in while the minor is on the ground.
The facts of this case make it difficult to determine what the outcome will be so fans will have to wait and see as the court system deliberates over this case. However, one thing for sure is Morant is going to have to be more careful about who he plays pickup games with in the future.