Without setting foot on an NBA court in the past four days, Ja Morant continues to be the talk of the town during his indefinite time away from the Memphis Grizzlies.
Mychal Thompson, a two-time NBA champion and father of Klay Thompson, weighed in on the situation and even offered some fatherly advice on KNBR’s “Murph and Mac” show Monday morning.
“Get rid of your crew, get rid of the people around you, keep your circle small,” Thompson said. “Your father, your sister, your mother, your family, and look at the people around you. You have to get rid of the people around you because they obviously don’t care if they let you put yourself in that kind of situation. They don’t care about you.
“If you have a friend who really cares about you, your image and what you have at stake, they’d be like, ‘Hey Ja, don’t do that, don’t do that.'”
The NBA announced it was investigating Morant after the Memphis guard appeared to show a gun in an Instagram Live video Friday night following the Grizzlies’ road loss to the Denver Nuggets. The team announced that Morant would miss at least his next two games.
Colorado police said Monday they are also investigating Morant’s actions, and the Glendale Police Department confirmed the video took place at a bar in Glendale.
Thompson doesn’t think it’s too late for Morant to correct his image and thinks he should hold up other league leaders as role models.
“I just think he’s got too many ‘yeses’ around him who are afraid to tell him what he’s doing wrong,” Thompson said. “He has to follow the example of LeBron James or Steph Curry. These young men have been blessed with unimaginable riches, but look at the people they have around them. Look at the LeBron team he grew up with, look what they built.
“The empire with Rich Paul, Maverick Carter, Randy Mims – these are the guys he brought with him to the NBA. Look how they behave like professionals, like adults, like mature young men. And look at the business empire LeBron’s friends have built around him, so they’re the kind of people Ja needs around him who have his best interest at heart and who can be mature adults and know how to behave in public. – and in private.
Morant released a statement on Saturday saying he takes “full responsibility” for his actions and will step away from the team a bit for help.
Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins said Sunday after the team’s loss to the Los Angeles Clippers that there was no timetable for Morant’s return. The Grizzlies have another game in Los Angeles on Tuesday night against the Lakers before returning to Memphis for a game against the Warriors on Thursday.
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Thompson knows his words, or those of anyone outside his circle might not mean much to Morant. It will be his relatives who will have to help him in this process.
“Someone in his family has to sit him down and say, ‘Look, you can’t behave like that in public. You have an image, you’re the face of the NBA going forward because you’re Ja Morant'” Thompson said. “He’s the most exciting player in the game. He’s right there with Steph and LeBron when it comes to kids’ favorite to watch.”
Whoever talks to Morant, it will be up to the young star to listen.
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