“Memphis Has a Chance”: Despite Ja Morant’s 25 Game Suspension, Stephen A. Smith Backs Grizzlies But in One Condition Only

Published 10/19/2023, 3:51 PM EDT

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Whether the Memphis Grizzlies can be added to the top contenders list is a debate that hasn’t reached a conclusion. There are equally vocal arguments about them being a pretender or a contender. Morant’s thrill-seeking drive into the 25-game suspension doesn’t help either. Both sides agree that Ja Morant dug his own grave, and that he is the Grizzlies’ top talent.

Then again, a few who maintain a neutral tone are of the opinion that Marcus Smart’s presence this season should make up for Morant’s absence on the court. But, ESPN’s very own Stephen A. Smith begs to differ. Here’s why.

Stephen A. Smith provides his sincere support for the Grizzlies amidst the Morant epic


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Stephen A. is rarely seen with any kind of emotion when he’s delivering blows left and right. His signature poker face is quite the sight. But in a recent podcast episode of his YouTube show, Stephen showed compassion for the Grizzlies Morant. It could be a direct effect of Coach Prime’s advice to the young star or it was Ja’s reply that did it for Smith.

Whatever the reason, Stephen A. Smith is of the strong belief that Ja Morant is the future of Memphis. “Memphis got a chance if Ja Morant is that dude, and he comes back with a vengeance,” he said.


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What’s more interesting is his take on how even with players like Clarke, Adams and Smart on the Grizzlies roster, Memphis “only” has a chance if Ja Morant comes back. It’s clear Stephen has great belief in the explosive athlete.

Surprisingly, Ja Morant has always had veterans backing him up. From Stephen Jackson (since his first gun stunt) to now, Deion Sanders. That should mean something, right? Let’s take a closer look at what makes Ja Morant such a veteran favourite.

“He’s a really good kid”: Jamal Crawford on Ja Morant

The NBA veteran Jamal Crawford is another player who believes in Ja Morant‘s goodness. It seems like the fame and wealth got to the 24-year-old’s head. He is not the first to have a complete change of character after being in the spotlight and definitely won’t be the last. Tough, yes, but that’s how the world moves.

Read More: Using 3 Strong Words, Ja Morant Declares His Motive for the Upcoming Season

Talking to Rich Eisen, Crawford says that Ja is “a really really good kid … He was the same person when I was in the bubble … people were making complaints about the food here, he was like ‘No, we have food to eat, I have no complaints, I’m just happy to be here’. That guy is there, we just have to bring him back to the forefront.”


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This account by Jamal gives us a chance to not simply focus on the Ja Morant for the past two years. With others also helping, we can be confident that the kid who fell in love with basketball is still present in the 2022 NBA All-Star.

Watch This Story: How Long Is Ja Morant Suspended For? Can the 2X All-Star Practice With the Team During $76 Million Worth Ban?


Written by:

Geisha Pulimoottil Don


One take at a time

Geisha is an NBA content writer at EssentiallySports. Having years of experience as a content writer, she focuses on providing in-depth coverage of the basketball entities. The increased use of technology in studying the game and its intricacies intrigues her.
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Edited by:

Garima Yadav