Standing at six foot three, Ja Morant has been an absolute game changer for the Memphis Grizzlies and this isn’t the first time he’s been the leader of his team. Morant has been seen leading not only his college team Murray state to wins, but also his high school team. Ja’s always been the star and every star is in the spotlight, thus mistakes are not only seen but magnified and analyzed. Of course, with this analysis and magnification comes criticism, not just any criticism but media criticism, the worst kind. Ja Morant is not exempt from this rule of fame and had to face the noise the rough way.
In March of 2023 pictures leaked of Ja Morant in a “gentleman’s club”, this was bad enough, however what followed was more pictures of Morant surrounded by money and one with him brandishing what appeared to be a firearm. The media went into a frenzy, the premiere young superstar for not only the Grizzlies but the entire NBA is now being seen as a “young indecisive mess” and with this came a huge headache for Morant’s PR team.
The first thing they had to do was contact the Grizzlies and let them know to put out on all social media platforms and send to news outlets that they were investigating exactly what was going on with the situation and for people not to assume anything about Morant or what he did or did not do. However, the damage had been done, Morant’s photos were being shown on ESPN and people were making jokes of him “trying to make it into the hood”, it was bad. Shannon Sharpe gave Morant a direct message to stop messing around with his career as not only weeks before Morant was also reported of assaulting a 17-year old boy. Morant’s PR team was in a frenzy and had to react quickly to salvage Morant’s image especially for the Grizzlies key stakeholders.
Clarification was the first thing Morant’s PR team focused on, issuing multiple statements after the police investigation that the firearm Morant was brandishing was a “prop”. This helped to sway some people’s beliefs but most still had a stain in their mind when it came to Morant, it’s a situation that’s hard to forget but a few more factors helped Morant out. One good move was the team promoting gun safety, along with Morant attending gun safety classes. The final thing Morant’s PR team did was push the attention away from Morant’s off the court antics to his on the court antics. Morant lead the Grizzlies to the #3 seed in the West and did so while averaging over 25 points a game and eight assists a game, Morant’s PR team posted a lot of things about the upcoming playoffs and how the Grizzlies are in a good position to win it all. One final factor in Morant’s comeback in the public eye is his teammate Dillon Brooks, who is widely disliked by the NBA community and is still stirring up trouble as of the writing of this piece.
All in all Morant’s situation was nothing to sneeze at, had he been convicted he most likely never would have stepped on an NBA court again regardless of his talent and limitless potential. However, not only was he not convicted Morant is seen in most eyes as a young star who has made his mistakes, however, as long as he turns over a new leaf there is no reason why he can’t be loved even more by the public in the future than he was before the crisis ever occurred.