Ja Morant Is The Prototype Athlete In Today’s World of Sports

A few days ago the NBA struck while the iron was hot and unleashed a barrage of newsworthy nuggets now that the NFL’s 6 month long stranglehold of the general public’s attention came to an end. The most “basketball” of which was a four way trade between the Hawks, Timberwolves, Nuggets, and Rockets that sent notable names like Clint Capella and Robert Covington elsewhere.

Cool stuff.

The real story to me, however, was the grade- A 100% beef that came from the Memphis Grizzlies locker room. Here’s a refresher:

  • This past offseason, the Golden State Warrior traded longtime veteran, Andre Iguodala, and his $17 million dollar contract to Memphis to save money
  • Andre didn’t want to play for Memphis, as they aren’t a contender.
  • Memphis said “Okay, that’s fine. We’ll trade you when the right offer comes.”
  • While searching for that offer, Memphis has become a social media “must watch” team largely due in part to 2nd overall pick, Ja Morant.
  • When 3rd year pro, Dillon Brooks, was asked about Iguodala’s absense this season, he responded, “I can’t wait til we find a way to trade him so we can play him and show him really what Memphis is about.”
  • Former teammate of Iguodala, Steph Curry, posted this to his IG story

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  • Ja Morant then posted this.

It’s kind of like that annoying friend you have that you make fun of all the time, but the second someone you don’t know joins in on the fun, they’ve crossed the line.

As a marginal NBA fan, I can’t lie and say I don’t enjoy the constant back and forth between players through social media and the media itself. It’s a win win for everyone. Fan’s get to enjoy the social side of professional sports and learn about the person, not the player. The player gets to build their brand through their personality.

However, the one thing that stunts this kind of growth are the old hats in the front office’s for these teams. Most times when you see someone speak their mind, it’s considered “speaking out of turn” and all of the sudden they’re forced in front of a podium like a politician that got caught with an escort.

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Or a politician who got caught with multiple escorts.

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Or a politician who got caught sending pictures of himself to his escorts with his son in the background.

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You get the point.

That said, I think the tide is changing, and it’s due largely in part to players standing their ground, and understanding that what they say isn’t as severe as they’re told it is.

Afterward, Ja Morant tweeted this in his own defense.

I love this. Everyone wants to paint him as someone who doesn’t respect his elders, or greatness, or whatever. Uhh… no. He’s standing up for his teammate and making sure the narrative is in his hands.

I guess we could ask, does Ja really have any respect? Well…

So yeah. One statement doesn’t encapsulate someone, despite what many might think. There’s a lesson in their somewhere. I’ll leave it to you to figure it out.

But most importantly, now that athletes that have been exposed to social media since their first memory are entering professional leagues, we’re getting to see a much more honest and understanding side of things.

These players know how much a facade social media really is and know not to take it too seriously. I’d say most players under 21 read the tweets directed at them after games and take it waaaay less seriously than the older ones.

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Because they know that the people yelling at them over twitter are people who have no idea what they’re talking about. Hell, they’ve probably done the same thing when they were younger, so they can be a bit more empathetic to the situation. They know that the words of people they know carry way more weight than that of a stranger.

I mean, if my friend yells at me, that’s going to mean something. I’m going to at least consider if what they’re saying is true. It probably isn’t, but it’s the least I can do.

If the homeless guy that yells at me for not giving him a dollar for holding the 7/11 door open for me, the only time I’m going to give it a second thought is when I need an example of something for a blog.

That’s really what twitter trolls are. Crazy homeless people.

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So kudos to Ja Morant for leading the way of future of athlete interaction. Hopefully everyone else calms the fuck down too.

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