Beale Street businesses celebrate Ja Morant’s upcoming return to the Grizzlies

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. 15, 2023 at 9:39 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The NBA announced Wednesday, Morant is suspended for eight games without pay for conduct they say is detrimental to the league.

He becomes eligible to play Monday.

That eight game suspension includes the six games he missed, including Wednesday’s game. However businesses who are Grizzlies fans are looking forward to Morant making his return to the team.

In an interview with ESPN, Morant focused on moving forward saying “It’s not who I am, I don’t condone any type of violence but I take full responsibility for my actions.”

The Grizzlies star point guard last played on March 3 in a big loss to Denver just before posting a video to Instagram showing himself holding a gun inside a Colorado nightclub.

He also told ESPN, “I realized I have a lot kids who look up to me, even probably some adults, a lot of fans.”

He went on to say he realizes past mistakes did not make him a good role model.

Wednesday, Coach Taylor Jenkins told reporters Morant will practice with the team Monday, but is not expected to play.

Regardless, it’s exciting news for Beale Street businesses, some who happen to be Grizzlies fans.

“Ja is the excitement,” said Ghost River Brewing Company Owner Bob Keskey. “He’s got a great supporting cast but he’s the excitement that he brings to Memphis. As a business owner, business when Ja is playing is good for all of Beale, not just for Ghost River Brewing.”

Keskey is a season ticket holder and hosts Grizzlies watch parties with die hard fans on Beale Street.

Not too far down Beale at Silky O’Sullivan’s, Manger Eric Howard says they’re standing behind the star point guard.

“We support him 100%,” said Silky O’ Sullivan’s closing manager Eric Howard. “We look for his return. Beale Street supports him. Silky O’ Sullivan’s supports him. We’re happy about it.

The NBA’s investigation into Morant’s social media post is complete.

The league’s investigation found that Morant did not have the gun in any NBA facility or with him on the team’s flight to Denver.

“I think the city really wants Ja to be back and in perfect frame in mind and perfect health, said Keskey. “Memphis support him, like I know you will.”

During the interview with ESPN, Morant said over the days away, he’s learning how to open up and express his feelings and has been seeing a therapist.

The Grizzlies will be back in Memphis Saturday and will play the Golden State Warriors.

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