Youth basketball coach on Ja Morant: ‘We need to love him’

Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant reacts as the team trails the Denver Nuggets during the...
Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant reacts as the team trails the Denver Nuggets during the second half of an NBA basketball game Friday, March 3, 2023, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)(David Zalubowski | AP)
Published: Mar. 7, 2023 at 5:08 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Tuesday night, the Memphis Grizzlies will play their second straight game without star point guard Ja Morant.

Morant was handed a suspension by the team after a video posted to social media of Morant flashing a gun at a party while in Denver.

Morant said in a statement that he takes full responsibility for his actions and that he is taking time away from the team to get help.

Jason Perry, local youth basketball coach says he’s using this incident as a learning tool for his team of young boys.

”Cling to the friends who don’t tell you what you want to hear,” Perry said. “You know, cling to those guys that tell you, ‘Hey, Ja, it’s not a good idea, man.’ You know, if you have a circle full of friends who tell you, ‘yes, you’re not in a good circle.’ And that is what I’m teaching my young men today.”

With many kids looking up to the star point guard, one local youth basketball coach says now is the time to support Ja and encourage him to do better.

”The outcome is based on the choice that you make,” Perry said. “You can make a good choice and receive good outcomes. On the flip side, you make bad choices, you receive bad outcomes. I don’t think we need to abandon Ja. My message to my boys has been don’t abandon him. We need to love him. As a city we need to put our arms around him. And we need to let him know that we’re here for him and that there is a better way.”

There is currently no timeline for Morant to return to the team.

“He’s definitely embracing the mistakes that he’s made, but only time will tell,” Head Coach Taylor Jenkins said. “We’re going to support him and we’re going to hold him accountable to make those changes.”

The NBA, as well as law enforcement in Colorado, are still investigating the incident.

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