Ex-NBA vets, social media react to Ja Morant’s obscure celebration


Ja Morant has been reminding basketball fans that he is still one of the best players in the game, but those fans are questioning whether he learned anything from his recent lengthy suspension.

The Memphis Grizzlies star returned from a 25-game ban last week, and in his season debut, he knocked down the game-winner at the buzzer in a 34-point performance.

He was recently named the Western Conference Player of the Week, but fans are still wondering if he could stay out of trouble.

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Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant, #12, dances as overtime expires against the New Orleans Pelicans during overtime at Smoothie King Center. (Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports)

Morant was suspended after filming a second video of himself appearing to brandish a gun; the first instance resulted in an eight-game ban.

During Tuesday night’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans, Morant threw down an alley-oop dunk and proceeded to celebrate by stretching his arms out and shimmying them back-and-forth, which many perceive to be a shooting celebration. He then appeared to mimic a rocket launcher on his shoulder.

With fans on high alert regarding Morant’s behavior, they were quick to question if his celebration was appropriate.

Ja Morant closeup

Ja Morant, #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies, looks on while playing the New Orleans Pelicans at Smoothie King Center on Dec. 19, 2023 in New Orleans. (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Gilbert Arenas, a former NBA star who himself had gun troubles while he was in the league, posted an old clip of Andre Iguodala in the face of his then-teammate Andrew Wiggins. It seemed like Arenas’ own way to tell Morant to cool it.

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Chandler Parsons also went to task on Morant, while pointing out that it is “shocking that we’re talking about him possibly doing the slightest thing gun-related.”

“You gotta grow up… Why are you giving us anything like this to even talk about to discuss, to talk about? he said on FanDuel’s “Run It Back.”

“What else has to happen for you, and your family and your friends, to learn? Make this about basketball, make this about your life, make this about your livelihood, and stop doing things like this.”

Others on social media had similar reactions, with some quick to say Morant has not learned from his suspensions.

Following the game, Morant reposted a post on X that said he was doing the popular touchdown dance done by members of the LSU football team throughout the season. 

It should be noted that the Grizzlies were in New Orleans for the game. The Smoothie King Center is roughly 80 miles from Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge. 

Others on social media defended Morant, saying the dance was no big deal at all.

After the game, Morant even posted “you gotta rock ya hips” with a laughing emoji and dancing emoji.

Ja Morant after dunk

Ja Morant, #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies, reacts after a dunk during overtime of an NBA game against the New Orleans Pelicans at Smoothie King Center on Dec. 26, 2023 in New Orleans. The Memphis Grizzlies won the game 116 – 115. (Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

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Since his return, he is putting up 28.8 points per game, scoring 30 or more in three of his four contests.

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