Ja Morant and the Failure of Parenting
As one of the most promising young players in the NBA, Ja Morant has made waves in his first 3 seasons with the Memphis Grizzlies. The 23-year-old point guard has established himself as a force to be reckoned with on the court, earning Rookie of the Year honors in 2019-20 and leading his team to the playoffs in 2020-21 and 2021-2022. But despite his success, Morant’s career has been marred by a larger societal issue: the failure of parenting.
On August 8, 2019, Morant’s father, Tee got into a heated argument with a man named Jeffrey Melrose outside a convenience store in Dalzell, South Carolina. According to witnesses, Tee was upset that Melrose had parked his truck too close to the family’s vehicle. The argument soon turned violent, with Tee allegedly assaulting Melrose and smashing his windshield with a baseball bat. Tee was arrested and charged with assault and battery, while Melrose sustained serious injuries and underwent surgery.
The incident had a profound impact on Ja Morant, who was just days away from starting his freshman season at Murray State University. In an emotional Instagram post, he wrote that he had “never been so hurt” and that his family was “not the type to get into altercations like this.” He also expressed gratitude that his mother and sister had not been present at the time of the incident, as things could have turned out much worse.
The fact that Ja Morant’s father engaged in such reckless and violent behavior is deeply troubling, but what’s even more concerning is the message it sends to young people. Morant has spoken openly in the past about his difficult upbringing in South Carolina, where he experienced poverty and violence firsthand. He has credited basketball with helping him stay focused and motivated, but it’s clear that his father’s actions put him in a difficult position.
However, it seems that his difficult past has begun to manifest itself in dangerous ways. On Wednesday, the NBA announced that Memphis Grizzlies’ point guard Ja Morant was suspended for 8 games without pay, following his altercation with Serge Ibaka of the Los Angeles Clippers, which took place on Tuesday night.
The incident happened during the second quarter of the game, when Morant was guarding Ibaka, who had the ball. During Ibaka’s attempt to score, he elbowed Morant in the face, causing him to fall to the ground. Morant then got up and shoved Ibaka, which led to a scuffle between the two players, as other players from both teams tried to separate them.
After reviewing the footage of the incident, the NBA’s disciplinary committee decided to suspend Morant for 8 games, citing his action as a violation of the league’s rule against fighting. Ibaka was also given a one-game suspension for his role in the altercation.
While the suspension is a setback for Morant and the Grizzlies, it is also a reminder of the importance of sportsmanship and respect in the NBA. The league has a responsibility to ensure that players are safe on the court and that the games are played within the rules.
Morant, who is averaging 19.3 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 7.4 assists per game this season, will miss several key matchups during his suspension, including games against the 76ers, Heat, and Trail Blazers. However, he will be eligible to return to the court on December 27th, when the Grizzlies take on the Utah Jazz.
Morant’s suspension is a reminder to all NBA players that their actions on and off the court carry consequences, and that they are expected to uphold the league’s standards of conduct. While it is disappointing for the Grizzlies and their fans, it is also an opportunity for Morant to reflect and come back stronger when he returns to the court.
As a rising star in the NBA, Morant is in a unique position to influence young people who look up to him. It’s time to confront the reality that many young athletes come from backgrounds marked by poverty, trauma, and neglect. They may be talented and determined, but they need more than just athletic ability to succeed. They need guidance, support, and, most importantly, good parenting. The fact that Ja Morant has made it this far despite the obstacles he has faced is a testament to his strength and resilience, but it’s also a sad indictment of a society that too often fails its children.
As fans, we can support Ja Morant and other young athletes by demanding that their teams and organizations take a more proactive role in ensuring their well-being. This means not just providing financial incentives and career opportunities but also investing in mental health services, mentorship programs, and other resources that can help maintain their physical and emotional health. But in the end, the responsibility falls on parents to do better for their children and to provide them with the love, support, and guidance they need to thrive in the world. Anything less is a failure of parenting.