Shaq Lays Down the Law on NBA Player Who Brandished Gun at Strip Club
NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal scolded Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant for a social media livestream in which he was seen holding a gun.
The video, shared via Instagram Live, featured the 23-year-old Morant dancing shirtless and brandishing a pistol in a dimly lit Colorado strip club.
WARNING: The following video features content that some viewers might find offensive.
4kt Ja in the Skrip club wit the blicky. pic.twitter.com/mFEOvZ5MVY
— DJ Akademiks (@Akademiks) March 4, 2023
O’Neal spoke out about the incident Tuesday on “NBA on TNT,” calling it a “dumb decision — not a mistake, a dumb decision, a dumb choice.”
“He put himself in the position,” the Hall of Famer said. “He didn’t have to go live. You’ve got to pick your phone up, swipe to find Instagram, get on Instagram, swipe again hit the Live button, wait for it to connect. … You’ve got to have enough common sense to know that wasn’t going to go the way you wanted it to go.
“You’re not a rapper, you’re an NBA player.
“I don’t know where you’re from. I don’t know who’s hanging out with you. That don’t matter. When it’s you making the decision, you gotta be smart.”
Police are minimizing the incident. The Memphis Grizzlies? Not so much.
Glendale, Colorado, police said Wednesday that Morant will not be charged because “there was not enough available evidence to charge anyone with a crime,” Yahoo Sports reported.
“GPD was not able to determine that probable cause existed for the filing of any charges,” the department said in a statement.
“In this case, it should be noted that on the night in question the GPD did not receive any calls for service at the nightclub regarding a weapon of any type,” it said. “Subsequently, no disturbances were reported, and no citizens or patrons of the club came forward to make a complaint. The investigation also concluded that no one was threatened or menaced with the firearm and in fact no firearm was ever located.”
While he was cleared of criminal charges, the Grizzlies tacked at least four games onto Morant’s minimum two-game suspension.
Statement from the Memphis Grizzlies pic.twitter.com/B3gk6injgK
— Grizzlies PR (@GrizzliesPR) March 8, 2023
Morant said in a statement via his agent he was “going to take some time away to get help and work on learning better methods of dealing with stress and my overall well-being.”
Statement from Ja Morant via his agent, Jim Tanner: pic.twitter.com/jXzs7HvLvG
— Vincent Goodwill (@VinceGoodwill) March 4, 2023
During his TV segment, O’Neal said the former Rookie of the Year and two-time All-Star showed bad judgment.
“You don’t go live, nobody knows he has a weapon, we’re not talking about this — but he did that,” he said.
“Why are you in the strip club with no shirt? Why are you walking around with a weapon? And why’d you hit the Live button? So we have to stop putting ourselves in positions where they can take away the things that we work hard for,” he said.
Shaq said Morant needs friends who will help him stay on course.
“Remember, this is a decision. This isn’t an instance where I had it, I’m dancing and it goes off. This is an instance where I pull it out, I hit the button and I wiggle it for everybody to see. So, he did it to himself. … He has to deal with what’s coming.
“And I know he has a lot of support around him. And his friends can’t be yes friends. I love my crew. We fight and argue all the time. But you know what? They keep me, they keep me in line. … My friends keep me in line. My friends like, ‘Hey, you ain’t about that life. You ain’t about that life. You don’t need to be doing that. Nah, forget all that.'”
The incident is not the only time Morant has landed in hot water.
The Washington Post reported that last summer, the head of security at a Memphis mall said Morant “threatened” him in the mall’s parking lot and claimed a member of Morant’s group shoved him. No arrests were made.
According to the report, Morant was also alleged to have punched a 17-year-old in the head during a basketball game at Morant’s house, police said. The NBA star was said to have displayed a weapon after the incident. He said he was responding to the teen after the teen threw a basketball at his head. No charges were filed.
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