The suspension Ja Morant received for appearing to brandish a weapon while on Instagram Live took the NBA world by storm this weekend, prompting a warning from Stephen A. Smith.
The ESPN pundit said Saturday before the broadcast of a game between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Philadelphia 76ers that he saw the parallels between what is happening with the Memphis Grizzlies star and what Allen Iverson went through during the first part of his career.
Smith then issued a warning to Morant, making sure the superstar point guard remembered his position among others in the NBA and how the league knows what’s going on, whether he posts on social media or not.
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«You’re a superstar. You’re 23 years old. You have a deal that goes into effect next year that could be over $231 million over the next five years and on this national TV show you’re associated with the police,» Smith said. «Think about that for a second and then ask yourself, ‘Is it really worth it?’ You know the answer to that, brother, it’s not worth it.
«You’re a superstar basketball player. You represent your organization, you represent your family, you represent your city, you have to be aware of all of that. It’s never wrong. And a lot of times we don’t tell these players that.» . The NBA has off-duty police officers. They have connections to the FBI. They have connections with the whole world. The NBA knows what you’re doing. They know who you’re doing it with. They know where you are. They know how you’re behaving at all times.»
Smith also had a message for Morant’s father on ESPN’s pregame show.
GRIZZLIES’ JA MORANT GETS ‘8 MILE’ TREATMENT AS HE FACES RIDICULOUS OVER GUN DRAMA
Morant broadcast the video on his Instagram Live and a screenshot of him appearing to be holding the gun quickly circulated on social media. The video aired hours after the Grizzlies played the Denver Nuggets on Saturday morning. The Grizzlies were set to take on the Clippers and Lakers in their next games in Los Angeles.
Morant issued an apology after receiving a two-game suspension.
«I take full responsibility for my actions last night,» Morant said. «I’m sorry to my family, teammates, coaches, fans, partners, the city of Memphis and the entire Grizzlies organization for letting them down. I will take time to get help and work to learn better methods of dealing with stress and my general well-being.
The gun incident is the latest in a series of controversies hanging over the superstar point guard. Morant’s actions came under investigation after a Jan. 29 incident in Memphis that he said led to a friend, Davonte Pack, being banned from home games for a year.
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Morant and Pack are also involved in a civil lawsuit brought after an incident last summer in which a 17-year-old boy alleged he was assaulted at Morant’s home. The Shelby County District Attorney’s Office said in January that it was «aware of the incident and, after a careful review of the facts, decided that there was insufficient evidence to proceed with the case.»
Associated Press contributed to this report.