Ja Morant's Instagram posts lead police to visit the Grizzlies star for welfare check

Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant sits on the bench before Game 5 in a first-round NBA basketball playoff series against the Los Angeles Lakers Wednesday, April 26, 2023, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)

Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant's Instagram posts prompted Tennessee law enforcement to conduct a welfare check Tuesday, TMZ reported. "He is fine," a spokesperson from the Shelby County Sheriff's Office confirmed to The Commercial Appeal. "He advised us that he is taking a break from social media."

The 23-year-old posted a series of photos on his Instagram story, writing affectionate messages to his mother, father, sister and daughter. He concluded with a photo of himself being interviewed after a game and captioned it "bye."

Morant deleted the posts within minutes, leaving fans to speculate about their meaning. It's unclear if someone called the sheriff’s office to alert them of potential concern.

Morant is currently dealing with the aftermath of a video that began to circulate May 14 that appeared to show him flashing a gun. Tuesday's posts were his first since the video surfaced, and the NBA is currently investigating. The Grizzlies suspended him from all team activities in the meantime.

He was suspended for eight games without pay in March for a similar situation. He went live on Instagram at a Colorado strip club after a loss to the Denver Nuggets and flashed what was later found to be someone else's gun.

During his time away from the team, Morant told reporters that the counseling he underwent in Florida was related to managing stress.

"I don't have an alcohol problem. I've never had an alcohol problem," Morant said. "I went there for counseling. To learn how to manage stress — cope with stress in a positive way. Instead of, you know, ways I've tried to deal with it before that caused me to make mistakes."

Because this is his second incident of this nature, Morant could be facing a "significant suspension to start next season," ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported.

“I know I’ve disappointed a lot of people who have supported me," Morant said in a statement two days after the most recent gun video. "This is a journey and I recognize there is more work to do. My words may not mean much right now, but I take full accountability for my actions. I’m committed to continuing to work on myself.”

Morant is currently being sued by a high schooler who alleges that the NBA star punched him during a pickup game and flashed a gun afterward. Morant missed out on a potential supermax contract after not being selected to an All-NBA team this season. His endorsement deals with Nike and Powerade also appear to hang in the balance after the sports drink company pulled an advertisement of his and the shoe giant removed his signature shoes from its site.