Ja Morant is quickly becoming one of those players in the NBA that everybody recognizes immediately. A lot of people instantly know who he is based purely on his hairstyle. This type of hairstyle that he uses was talked about as one of the most popular throughout the 2021 year and will continue to be moving forward. It is called free-form dreads. We could also see him have a colored dread near his face as well, it is usually in a pink/red type of color. With this type of hair, Ja has the potential to really mix it up however he wants. He had a certain type of ponytail about a year ago before mixing it up with a very tight loop shortly after. It wouldn’t be surprising to see this free-form style lead into a different looking hairstyle for him down the line. This hairstyle has surely helped him take off in the league. He was first drafted to the Memphis Grizzlies back in 2019 and has since been a force to be reckoned with. This current season with the team, Morant is averaging 25.9 points, 5.1 rebounds and 7.0 assists per game. Fans of the sport can’t stop talking about him either. This young kid when from a solid sophomore to a realistic MVP candidate in just a matter of months. There aren’t many people out there that can take this type of jump that fast.
His dramatic improvement had people thinking he deserves the Most Improved Player award at the end of the season. However, the veteran forward on the Golden State Warriors, Draymond Green, offered his own opinion on the matter. Draymond said that Ja’s improvement should have him above the Most Improved Player award, instead fighting it out for the Most Valuable Player. Whether or not he will be able to win it at the end of this season is yet to be seen, but his journey has been long.
Morant first picked up a basketball when he was just 10 years of age. His father, Tee Morant, built his own basketball court so that he could be trained on the sport. It happened fast, but Ja only cared about basketball from that point forward. He was a little undersized when he grew up. He stood at five-foot, seven inches but his athleticism was just through the roof. In his first year of high school, he found a way to slam home a ridiculous dunk to get people's attention. Still, it wasn’t enough to get everybody talking about him for very long. He got just two scholarship offers after high school. On top of that, he wasn’t even ranked by sports networks. That was when everything changed.
Morant attended a South Carolina tournament that lasted for just two days. He was hoping that maybe he could get on somebody's wish list with some strong play. Luckily for him, a recruiter from Murray State was there in the stands watching. Funny enough, the recruiter named James Kane, wasn’t there for Morant. In fact, he only showed up so that he can watch another player. He ended up getting hungry and walked into the auxiliary gym, the room that Ja was playing in. Kane said that after just a few minutes of watching him he decided to call his boss and asked him to come up to check Morant out for himself.
Fast forward and here we have Ja battling it out at Murray State. He was listed at six-foot, three inches now and led the team into the NCAA Tournament. They didn’t do that well that year but he was named the team captain moving into that second season. He eventually helped the Racers win a number of games in the tournament in 2019, but they did get eliminated in the end. It didn’t matter much though, as it was one of their best runs in years.
Now we have circled back into the present, with Ja on the Grizzlies. Memphis probably can’t even imagine where they would be without their superstar point guard. Memphis was a really bad team at the time of the 2019 draft. They were just starting to learn how to play without Marc Gasol and Mike Conley and their entire roster was just organized really poorly. They were hitting that point when they just needed a generational leader to be the cornerstone of the franchise. As fate would have it, Ja was the guy. With Morant on the team, they are one of the best in 2022. Matter of fact, Memphis is the number two seed in the loaded Western Conference with 55 plus wins on the season. I can say with certainty that the Grizzlies could have never imagined success this quickly following a really disappointing season before drafting Morant. It isn’t just the stat sheet where he makes an impact in, it’s his leadership that does the trick also.
One of the best moments of this season was when the Grizzlies lost to the Philadelphia 76ers in overtime by three points. Morant scored a game-high 37 points in the match but it just wasn’t enough in the end. Near the end of regulation, Morant had an opportunity to win the game. He wound up missing free throws and the game went into that extra period, during which he missed four straight shots. With the game on the line, the team needed a clutch three-point shot on the final possession. He kicked it out to a wide-open Zaire Williams who wasn’t able to knock it down, sealing their loss. People started to blame Williams for missing the shot, costing them the game. Ja stepped in and said, “There’s no need for us to be depressed or angry because he missed a shot. If there’s anybody you want to be angry with, it’s me. I had a total of nine turnovers. Big free throws were missed. I couldn’t come up with a three. So, if you’re going to be furious at someone, make it me.” These are words we just don’t hear from a guy that is new to the league. Morant will be a phenomenal player for years to come and his teammates will continue to enjoy playing for him given his leadership qualities.
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