Friday, March 31 2023

The NBA recently investigated an altercation between associates of Grizzlies star Ja Morant and and Pacers‘ traveling party following an Indiana-Memphis game on Jan. 29. Members of the Pacers’ traveling party told The Athletic that someone in an SUV that Morant was traveling in shined a red laser at them. They believed it was a gun, but the NBA said it could “not corroborate that any individual threatened others with a weapon.”

Here’s the NBA’s statement from spokesperson Mike Bass:

“NBA Security and league investigators conducted an investigation interviewing numerous eyewitnesses and reviewing video surveillance following allegations made by the Indiana Pacers organization regarding a postgame incident on Jan. 29. While we substantiated that a postgame situation arose that was confrontational, based on interviews and other evidence gathered, we could not corroborate that any individual threatened others with a weapon,” Bass said. “Certain individuals involved in the postgame situation and a related matter during the game that night have been subsequently banned from attending games in the arena. If additional information becomes available related to the postgame situation, the league office will conduct a further review.”

During the third quarter of the Grizzlies’ 112-100 win over the Pacers, the two teams exchanged words at mid court, while Morant’s father, Tee, and his close friend, Davonte Pack, got involved from the sidelines. Pack was later removed from the floor after consultation with arena security. 

During his postgame press conference, Morant said the on-court incident was started by Pacers guard Andrew Nembhard, who told his father to “shut up.” That’s when Morant got involved. “I checked his temperature,” Morant said. “He didn’t have a fever.”

As it turns out, the confrontation was just getting started. While the Pacers were making their way toward their busses after the game in Memphis, Pack and a number of other Morant associates exited two parked SUVs and began shouting at the traveling party, per The Athletic. A 15-20 minute verbal altercation ensued involving Pacers players and was eventually broken up by security personnel from the league and arena. 

Eventually, Morant arrived on the scene and entered one of the SUVs, which then pulled away. As they were doing so, one of the SUVs moved towards the Pacers’ bus and members of the traveling party noticed a red laser being pointed at them. A member of the Pacers’ security staff reportedly said “That’s 100 percent a gun” at the time. Members of the Pacers organization felt they were in “grave danger” but did not report the incident to police out of fear of retribution, per The Athletic. 

In a statement, the Grizzlies said they have “complied completely with the league’s investigation and are abiding by its findings.” Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins made a similar comment prior to the team’s game against the Toronto Raptors on Sunday. “That was addressed internally,” Jenkins said. “Aware of the investigation of the NBA. We were fully compliant with it. I think they came out with a statement saying nothing was corroborated or found. … That’s all I’m going to comment about.”



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