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“You got a $200 million contract, and you want people in the NBA to think you hood, to think you gangster” - Shannon Sharpe calls out Ja Morant over alleged gun incident

By Orel Dizon,


Sharpe believes something has to change for Morant, otherwise the Grizzlies star is putting himself in harm's way.
Shannon Sharpe, Ja Morant

© Petre Thomas, Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

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Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant has been in hot water recently because of his involvement in some off-court issues. It's quite concerning, considering that the 23-year-old is one of the league's budding superstars and has the potential to be the face of the NBA .

TV analyst Shannon Sharpe empathically expressed concern for the young All-Star and called him out for supposedly surrounding himself with bad influences.

"Bro, you not hard," Sharpe said on "Undisputed." "That's not your life. People in that life would give anything to be in your life. You got a $200 million contract, and you want people in the NBA to think you hood, to think you gangster because you roll with this type of people. Bro, you're putting yourself in harm's way when you don't have to."

The Pacers incident

The incident behind Sharpe and co-host Skip Bayless' discussion about Morant was Ja's latest run-in with the Indiana Pacers. Memphis played the Pacers in late January, but their victory was marred by heated confrontations between the opposing players.

Morant had an altercation with Andrew Nembhard after the Pacers guard told Morant's heckling father to shut up. Other personalities also got into it, including the brash youngster's close friend, Davonte Pack.

While most confrontations usually end on the court, this one apparently spilled outside as Morant's associates who were inside SUVs allegedly started shouting at some people in the Pacers organization who were making their way to team buses following the game. For 15-20 minutes, the verbal spat continued until security personnel intervened.

After Morant arrived and hopped into one of the vehicles, his companions began leaving the area. However, some members of the Pacers' traveling party inside the bus noticed a red laser being pointed at them from one of the SUVs. Someone in the organization's security staff claimed it was "100 percent a gun."

The league investigated the incident but could not corroborate that individuals were threatened with a weapon.

Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins addressed the matter recently. Morant retweeted the video, adding a colorful caption to seemingly exacerbate the situation further.

Behavior problems?

Whether the gun threat was true or not, the entire incident suggests that Morant needs better guidance on how to handle himself professionally. Of course, no one is pushing him to restrain his arrogance (remember his " fine in the West " quip that has backfired?) or change the people he surrounds himself with.

But the NBA is a business where players need to value their images highly. Thus, how Morant and his associates behave on and off the court, including online, can affect not just him but the Memphis organization.

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