Without stepping foot on an NBA court over the last four days, Ja Morant continues to be the talk of the league during his indefinite time away from the Memphis Grizzlies.
Mychal Thompson, a two-time NBA champion and the father of Klay Thompson, weighed in on the situation and even offered some fatherly advice on KNBR’s “Murph and Mac” show Monday morning.
“Get rid of your crew, get rid of the people around you, keep your inner circle tight,” Thompson said. “Your father, your sister, your mother, your family, and watch the people around you. You have to get rid of the people around you because they obviously do not care about you if they let you put yourself in this kind of situation. They don’t care about you.
“If you have a friend who really cares about you and your image and what you have at stake, he would tell you, ‘Hey Ja, don’t do that, don’t do this.’”
The NBA announced it is investigating Morant after the Memphis guard appeared to flash a gun in an Instagram Live video Friday night after the Grizzlies’ road loss to the Denver Nuggets. The team announced Morant would miss at least their next two games.
Police in Colorado said on Monday they, too, are investigating Morant’s actions, and the Glendale Police Department confirmed the video took place at a bar in Glendale.
Thompson doesn't think it’s too late for Morant to fix his image and believes he should look at other leaders in the league as examples.
“I just think he has too many ‘yes man’ around him, who are afraid to tell him what he’s doing wrong,” Thompson said. “He needs to follow the example of LeBron James or Steph Curry. These young men have been blessed with riches beyond belief, but look at the people they have around them. Look at LeBron’s crew that he grew up with, look at what they’ve built.
“The empire with Rich Paul, Maverick Carter, Randy Mims -- those are the guys that he brought with him to the NBA. Look at how they conduct themselves like professionals, like adults, like mature young men. And look at the business empire LeBron’s friends have built around him. So that’s the kind of people that Ja needs around him, who have his best interest at heart and who can be mature adults and know how to conduct themselves in public -- and in private.”
Morant released a statement on Saturday stating he takes "full responsibility" for his actions and will take some time away from the team to get help.
Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins said on Sunday after the team’s loss to the Los Angeles Clippers that there is no timetable for Morant’s return. The Grizzlies have another game in Los Angeles Tuesday night against the Lakers before they return to Memphis for a matchup against the Warriors on Thursday.
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Thompson knows his words, or those from anyone outside his circle might not mean much to Morant. It will be those close to him that must help him during this process.
"Someone from his family, needs to sit him down and say, 'Listen, you can't conduct yourself like this in public. You have an image, you are the face of the NBA going forward because you are Ja Morant,'" Thompson said. "He is the most exciting player in the game. He’s right up there with Steph and LeBron as far as being kid’s favorite to watch."
No matter who speaks to Morant, it will be on the young star to listen.