Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant, currently nearing the end of a 25-game NBA suspension, took the stand on Monday in Memphis. In a revealing testimony during an immunity hearing at Shelby County Circuit Court, Morant claimed he acted in self-defense in an incident involving a teenager at his home in July 2022.
The altercation in question led to Joshua Holloway, then 17, filing a lawsuit against Morant in September 2022, alleging assault. During the cross-examination, Holloway’s attorney, Rebecca Adelman, probed into Morant's perception of the situation.
"You testified that this basketball was a weapon, yes?" she asked, to which Morant responded affirmatively. When further asked if it was a "lethal weapon," Morant simply stated, "It hurt." Morant detailed the events leading to the physical confrontation, explaining his interpretation of Holloway's actions as a precursor to a fight.
"Him pulling up his shorts, where I'm from, that's a fighting stance," Morant said. He admitted to throwing the first punch to protect himself, followed by his close friend Davonte Pack also hitting Holloway.
Impact on Morant's Career and Image
The court also heard from Morant's father, Tee, who described the basketball game at his house as "highly competitive." He is expected to continue his testimony and address questions about the altercation.
Morant’s role as a prominent figure in the NBA and his desire to be a role model in Memphis were also topics of discussion during the hearing. He acknowledged the impact of his conduct on his brand and reputation, along with the challenges of being a high-profile athlete.
"I can't go nowhere," he lamented, highlighting the limitations his fame imposes on his personal life.The timing of Morant's testimony is significant, coming just days after remarks from Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver about his impending return to the league.
Jenkins praised Morant's commitment throughout the suspension process, while Silver indicated a planned discussion with Morant ahead of his return, emphasizing the structured program laid out for him.