Memphis Grizzlies, Ja Morant respond to report about Jan. 29 postgame red laser incident with Indiana Pacers
The Memphis Grizzlies responded Sunday to a report that said acquaintances of Ja Morant confronted members of the Indiana Pacers' travel party on Jan. 29 and that somebody in a vehicle later trained a red laser on them.
According to The Athletic, the confrontation happened after the game, near the Pacers' bus in the loading area of FedExForum. Later, someone in an SUV – in which Morant was a passenger – pointed a red laser at them. The story quoted two anonymous members of the Pacers' party, who said they didn't see if the laser was attached to a gun but believed it was. A Pacers security guard in the area told The Athletic they believed it was "100 percent a gun."
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The confrontation came after the Grizzlies and Pacers got into a shouting match during the third quarter. Morant's best friend, Davonte Pack, was later removed from the arena after walking on the court and shouting at Pacers players.
"That was addressed internally. We're aware of the investigation of the NBA," coach Taylor Jenkins said pregame. "They did a full investigation, we were fully compliant with it and I think they came out with a statement saying nothing was corroborated or found. That's what I know and that's all I'm going to comment on."
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Morant was ruled out of Sunday's game against the Toronto Raptors due to right wrist soreness after being listed as questionable on the team's injury report. He made a statement on Twitter appearing to object to the NBA's investigation and stating that Pack was banned from attending future games.
"did a investigation seen they were cappin. still let a article come out to paint this negative image on me & my fam . & banned my brother from home games for a year . unbelievable," Morant tweeted with a laughing face.
did a investigation seen they were cappin . still let a article come out to paint this negative image on me & my fam . & banned my brother from home games for a year . unbelievable 😂 https://t.co/08p4E8xhJJ
— Ja Morant (@JaMorant) February 5, 2023
According to NBA spokesman Mike Bass, the league probed the matter after the Pacers alerted them but could not find evidence that anyone pointed a gun. In a statement, Bass said the NBA security and league investigators spoke to numerous eyewitnesses and reviewed video surveillance during its investigation.
He also didn't say who was barred from attending Grizzlies games except that it was multiple people affected.
"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."
Per The Athletic, Pack was among four or five men who approached the Pacers' traveling party after the Grizzlies' 112-100 win on Jan. 29. Pack and others traded shouts with the Pacers for about 15-20 minutes as security intervened.
When Morant entered the loading area, he, Pack and and their group dispersed into two vehicles. The SUV that Morant and Pack were in moved toward the Pacers bus before slowly turning and then members of the Pacers party reported seeing a red light aimed at players, coaches and others.
The report comes after Morant was named to his second NBA All-Star team. With Stephen Curry injured, Morant, who was third in All-Star voting among Western Conference guards, could likely start his second consecutive All-Star game on Feb. 19.
On Thursday, following the Grizzlies' loss at the Cavaliers, he appeared to hint at a situation while addressing what he felt was perceived bias against the team with Dillon Brooks being suspended. Morant told reporters that he felt the Grizzlies get punished more for negative things because he believed the team is "most hated".
“I'm standing on that. That's how it is though," Morant said. "It’s a little situation going on now, I ain’t gone speak on it yet. If some (expletive) don’t change, y’all hear me speak on it."
This article originally appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal: Memphis Grizzlies, Ja Morant respond to report of laser trained on Pacers staff