MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The NBA on Wednesday passed down its official judgment on Ja Morant and the multiple scandals he was involved in this year, levying an eight-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the league.
In a Thursday episode of the Locked On Grizzlies podcast, host Joe Mullinax responded to the league’s decision on Morant, who has been away from the team in a counseling program for the past week and also spoke about his situation in an interview with ESPN.
“It comes down to action now for Ja Morant,” Mullinax said. “He has to show that this experience has changed his perspective. He says that he knows he has things to lose now, and as crazy as that is to say out loud … you very well may have cost yourself millions of dollars with these decisions.”
Morant is set to release a signature shoe in April, and was the face of Powerade’s major brand revamp commercial recently. Perhaps more pressingly, Morant’s actions and ultimate decision to take a break from basketball midseason could have an effect on All-NBA voting, and in turn, his next contract, which reportedly featured escalators for All-NBA that would allow the contract to pay him $231 million versus the $191 million base salary.
As one of the budding faces of the league, there is, for better and worse, more riding on this for Morant than for other young athletes finding their way in life and sports.
“In terms of the size and scope of the cultural impact that is potentially possible, there’s a reason why Nike and Powerade are coming and knocking at Ja Morant’s door,” Mullinax said. “He is the one that has the Allen Iverson ‘it factor’ and the ability to impact not just the sport on the floor but the culture of the game off of it. He has that, and he most certainly can lose it.”
Morant is set to return to the Grizzlies on Monday and could reportedly play again as soon as Wednesday at home against Houston.