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NBA bans Grizzlies’ Morant eight games for gun in nightclub

Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant was suspended eight games without pay by the NBA on Wednesday after streaming a video of himself holding a gun while intoxicated at a nightclub.

Morant, banned for “conduct detrimental to the league,” has been away from the team and missed five games. He will be eligible to return when Memphis plays Dallas on Monday.

The punishment comes after a league investigation into the March 4 incident at a Denver-area club and a meeting on Wednesday between Morant and NBA commissioner Adam Silver.

“Ja’s conduct was irresponsible, reckless and potentially very dangerous,” Silver said. “It also has serious consequences given his enormous following and influence, particularly among young fans who look up to him.

“He has expressed sincere contrition and remorse for his behavior. Ja has also made it clear to me that he has learned from this incident and that he understands his obligations and responsibility to the Memphis Grizzlies and the broader NBA community extend well beyond his play on the court.”

Based on information uncovered during the NBA’s probe into the incident, the league did not find the gun involved belonged to Morant, had been brought by him into the nightclub or was displayed by him beyond a brief period.

“The investigation also did not find that Morant possessed the gun while traveling with the team or in any NBA facility and the Colorado authorities did not find sufficient cause to charge Morant with a crime,” an NBA statement said.

Morant said in a statement after the incident he was seeking help to handle stress and emotional well-being and reportedly has undergone a counseling program.

The 23-year-old playmaker was last season’s NBA Most Improved Player and an All-Star this season and last season. Morant was the second pick in the 2019 NBA Draft and the 2020 NBA Rookie of the Year.

Morant averages 27.1 points, 8.2 assists and 6.0 rebounds a game for the Grizzlies, who at 41-26 rank second in the Western Conference, four games back of pace-setter Denver.

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