Former NBA player Charles Barkley has spoken out about Ja Morant’s off-court troubles and is encouraging the young athlete to be smart and focus on basketball. Morant, a guard who has been one of the leading scoring on the Memphis Grizzlies team over the past few years, is currently serving a 25-game suspension related to firearms. He is scheduled to play his first game of the season on Dec. 19 when the Grizzlies take on the New Orleans Pelicans.
This suspension, which was announced after an Instagram Live video showed him waving a gun in a car, is not the first time that Morant has been kept off the court. Last March, he served an eight-game suspension after a different video showed him brandishing a gun at a nightclub in Colorado.
During an interview with Chris Wallace on “Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace,” Barkley said, “[Morant] is getting paid close to $100 million and the only thing you have to do is don’t be a fool. Just play basketball. Ain’t like it’s a real job.” He went on to refer to teachers, firemen, and others who do have “real jobs” and don’t get paid nearly as much as NBA athletes do.
Barkley also said, “He’s caught with a gun, he gets suspended and then, less than two months later, he gets filmed again on Instagram with a gun… Kid can’t be that stupid.”
After his NBA career, the basketball legend has become a successful TV personality and developed a reputation for saying things bluntly. He’s getting ready to host a new show called “King Charles” on CNN, alongside Gayle King.
Morant made a public comment after the NBA handed down his suspension. He apologized to kids who look up to him, saying, “I’m sorry for failing you as a role model.”