ESPN analyst Michael Wilbon said on air during ‘NBA Countdown’ that members of his household may not purchase Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant’s signature shoes following his second gun-related incident. And on Thursday that same virtue became more of a reality to all potential customers of the Ja 1 sneaker.
Ja Morant’s signature sneaker, the Ja 1, is not visible on Nike’s website and app almost one month after the shoe’s April 19 release. A select few of Morant’s t-shirts and jerseys are available for purchase on Nike’s site, but his popular new sneaker is not available.
Morant signed a $12 million, multi-year deal with in May of 2019, with the ‘Hunger’ colorway of his signature sneaker set to release on May 25. But there’s no question that the future of Morant’s deal with the world’s biggest apparel brand could be in jeopardy following his recent misconduct.
In March, Morant served an eight-game suspension without pay after displaying a gun on Instagram Live while in a nightclub. Unfortunately, lightning struck twice for Morant, as yet another Instagram Live surfaced on Sunday of Morant displaying a firearm a second time.
The Grizzlies have since suspended Morant from all team activities, but an even harsher, lengthy suspension could be in passed down by the NBA in the future.
The 23-year-old Morant is a two-time NBA All-Star who received the league’s Rookie of the Year award in 2020 and the Most Improved Player award in 2022. And his future with the NBA and Nike will certainly be interesting to watch unfold this NBA offseason.
Dwight Howard recruits Ja Morant, Doc Rivers to Taiwan
The future of Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant and former Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers became uncertain this week.
After being suspended eight games without pay in March for displaying a gun on his Instagram account while in a nightclub, Morant was filmed yet again live on Instagram with a gun. The Grizzlies have already suspended Morant from all team activities, and the NBA could potentially hand down a lengthy suspension for next season.
Rivers on the other hand was fired by the Philadelphia 76ers Tuesday just two days after the team’s 112-88 Game 7 playoff loss the the Boston Celtics.
It hasn’t been the best week for Rivers and Morant, but former NBA All-Star Dwight Howard may have found a solution to their troubles. After 18 years in the NBA, Howard took his talents overseas, signing with the Taoyuan Leopards in Taiwan in 2022. And recent tweets from Howard suggest that he’d like Morant and Rivers to team up alongside him.
Howard tweeted Monday, “Aye Ja you gone get it right ! I’m still with you if anyone else ain’t you could come out here to Taiwan if anything… just leave it home,” directed at Morant. And his message for Rivers Tuesday said, “We’ll need a Great coach for this Dreamteam… #Taiwan.”
The T1 League named Howard the league’s Most Valuable Import in the 2022-2023 season, also earning All-T1 League First Team honors and All-Defensive First Team. Morant and Rivers would likely fill their trophy cases as well if they joined Howard’s ‘Dreamteam’, but their likelihood of taking their talents to Taiwan is presumably slim.