In light of another video of NBA star Ja Morant flashing a gun on a live stream — his second such incident in two months — there have been a variety of responses. Some have defended Morant, saying he didn’t break any laws and, therefore, doesn’t deserve to be suspended.
Those comments didn’t sit well with NBA legend Charles Barkley.
Barkley offered a lengthy counter argument on Inside The NBA Wednesday, saying there are life changes that come with being an NBA player. Morant has since released a statement on the matter, but Barkley said he has to be smarter going forward.
“First of all, I got to say something. We’ve got some idiots, some fools, some jackasses on television that really just piss me off,” Barkley said ahead of the Eastern Conference Finals. “Talking about Ja should make a stance saying he didn’t break any laws, he didn’t do anything wrong, [was] in a state where you can carry a gun. Those guys, they’re just freaking idiots. … It pisses me off when I hear guys say that.
“Young man, when you’re making $100 million a year to play sports, your life changes. There are certain rules and regulations you have to live by. Plain and simple. You can’t do stupid stuff. That’s the trade-off. Now, if you want to do all that stuff and give all that money back, more power to you. You can make that stance, ‘You know what? I’m gonna do what I want to do. I want to flash my gun and make videos and do things.’ OK. That’s fine. But you can’t make money on the NBA doing this stuff.”
Charles Barkley on the Ja Morant situation: ‘It’s disappointing because the kid’s a great player’
Earlier in the NBA season, reports surfaced about an incident involving a friend of Morant’s, who was banned from FedEx Forum for a year after using a laser. He filmed himself during the first incident with a gun in a strip club, but another friend had the camera rolling for the latest one.
Barkley said he hopes Morant can get through this and “grow up” a bit. He also said the friends aren’t entirely to blame.
“I just hope that he grows up and realizes — young man, first of all, you’re not a thug. You’re not a criminal, you’re not a crook,” Barkley said. “You’re a guy making … $200 million to dribble a stupid basketball. You hit the lottery. We all hit the lottery to do something. There’s people out there that work 9-5, 80-90 hours a week, going to make $25,000 a year. They would kill to be in our situation. Kenny’s right. At some point, it’s not your friends. Bill Parcells used to always say — and I love it — He says, ‘Young man, you’re just an unlucky dude. Bad stuff happens around you all the time. You’re just an unlucky dude.’ No, no, no, man. You’ve got to look in the mirror and say, ‘You know what? Maybe I’m the problem.’
“It’s disappointing because the kid’s a great player. But to be a fool already, then be a bigger fool a couple months later — and this is like your fifth or sixth gun thing. And like I say, ‘Hey, I’m a gun guy.’ But I don’t understand why you are flashing it. My bodyguard teaches me, ‘Man, if you touch your gun, you’d better shoot somebody. It ain’t for everybody to know you got.’ I guess he thinks he’s with Anquan Fuqua and Steven Spielberg.”