Charles Barkley: ‘It’s time for Ja Morant to grow up’

The ‘Inside the NBA’ star did not hold back against the Memphis Grizzlies star
(Photo credit: A.R. Shaw for rolling out
Kenny Smith and Charles Barkley (Photo by A.R. Shaw for rolling out)

Charles Barkley has added his thoughts on NBA star Ja Morant. The Memphis Grizzlies guard is currently away from the team after appearing to flash a gun on Instagram live from the club. The live happened hours after Memphis’ game against the Denver Nuggets on March 3, and occurred in the midst of allegations surfacing of him punching a teenager and flashing a gun at him after an argument in a pickup basketball game at his house. Morant told officers the teenager shouted, “I’m gonna come back and light this place up like fireworks,” according to the Washington Post.

No charges were filed in the alleged assault on the teenager or Instagram live incident.

On March 4, the Grizzlies announced Morant will be away from the team for at least two games. On March 9, Memphis played its third game without Morant in a 131-110 win over the Golden State Warriors. During the night’s broadcast, “Inside the NBA” star Charles Barkley had some words for the star guard.

“I hope the kid grows up, matures and gets better people around him,” Barkley said. “I think one of the reason [NBA Commissioner] Adam Silver has been quiet is because the Grizzlies have been like, ‘He’s out. He’s going to be out for at least four more games.’ So I think coach Taylor Jenkins and the Grizzlies have done a fantastic job, but it’s time for Ja Morant to grow up. Next year, his new deal is going to kick in. It’s worth five years, $231 million. Man, you can’t screw this up.”

“You’re one of the new faces of our league, everyone loves the way you play and you’re out here acting like a d— fool and idiot.”

Other incidents Morant has been linked to in the past year include the star athlete reportedly threatening the head of security at a Memphis mall during an altercation. The head of security filed a police report after the incident, and he told police someone with Morant shoved him in the head. No arrests were made from the incident.

During the season, it was alleged that someone from Morant’s vehicle pointed the laser from a gun toward an Indiana Pacers employee. The NBA investigated the allegation, and Morant’s agent said the league could not find any evidence to discipline him.

“One gun incident is too many, three is way over the limit,” Barkley said. “I want to applaud the Memphis Grizzlies for handling it the way they have.”

Many social media users have joked about Morant’s situation because his father, Tee, is always present at his games and it appeared he had a good family upbringing. One Twitter user, however, explained he’s just a product of his environment in Sumter, South Carolina.

“It’s not all on him,” Barkley said. “[It’s also on] the people around him because he’s 23. We’re all stupid at 23. I ain’t gone get on here and act like I ain’t do stupid stuff when I was 23, but you have to surround yourself [with responsible adults] — man, being famous ain’t easy. Especially now with all these video cameras, every fool on TV got an opinion on you and everyone has a Twitter account to cut you up. You have to really surround yourself around adults, man.”

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