Gilbert Arenas thought it was an old video. There was no way, Ja Morant thought, that he would have been able to do the same as Miakulufa not long ago. Not with all that was at stake.
““Once I realized it was new, I didn’t have to say anything,” former Washington Wizards star Arenas said. See how invincible you are.
Morant, a 23-year-old guard for the Memphis Grizzlies, has faced criticism for the second time in two months in a social media video of him politely but nonchalantly waving around a gun in public. The NBA confirmed the first video in March, but is still investigating the second, which went viral last weekend. Morant apologized Tuesday.
Arenas, 41, can relate to Morant’s hustle better than anyone. During the 2009-10 season, the NBA suspended him for 50 games for mocking the situation by bringing a gun into the team’s locker room and making finger gun signs during the game. Arenas, who made three All-Star teams during that time, said he got into trouble in a position where he felt comfortable — perhaps too comfortable.
“It’s different for me because I don’t get into trouble in my day-to-day life,” Arenas said. “It’s causing me problems at my workplace. I thought the invisible cloud was removed.
Morant’s plight played out on social media with millions of followers, and the many threats to his career and the NBA made his otherworldly athletic team an overnight highlight among fans. It made the jersey one of the league’s best sellers.. Morant released his first signature shoe with Nike this year, and was fronting a new ad campaign for Powerade. After the retirements of LeBron James and Stephen Curry, he is poised to become one of the young stars the NBA can boast. Now all that is at stake.
Two videos. Two apologies, each of which Morant promises to be better.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver suspended Morant for eight games after the first video and said in an interview on ESPN on Tuesday that he was “shocked” when he saw the second one. It’s unclear whether Morant has had any violations, but he could be suspended for conduct detrimental to the league, as Silver did in March. The Grizzlies, who were eliminated from the playoffs last month, suspended Morant indefinitely.
“He’s done a disservice not only to himself, but to the franchise,” said Larry Parnell, director of the Strategic Public Relations Program at George Washington University. “And I think people take that more personally than politicians or actors who behave badly.”
“If you’re famous and you’re making a movie and I don’t like what you’re doing, I’m not emotionally attached to your movie, but I’m emotionally attached to the Celtics,” he explained. I am emotionally attached to grizzlies.
Arenas said the situation contrasted with Morant’s because he knew he was a public figure and acted accordingly, such as not wearing flashy jewelry in public to avoid being mugged. “I understand that I’m not normal,” Arenas said.
However, Arenas’ gun incident overshadowed the rest of his NBA career, which lasted just two more seasons, in part due to injuries. He was seen as immature.
“I think it’s a touch — a legacy — I don’t even want to say my name,” said Arenas, who co-hosted the “Gill Arena” show for Underdog Fantasy. “It hit him really hard. I said then, the saddest thing of all is that I did 100 things right. I did something wrong and that’s what everyone remembers. That’s what hurts you the most.He said.
There were other cautionary tales about star athletes and guns. Less than a year after Plaxico Buress caught the Giants’ game-winning touchdown in the Super Bowl, he accidentally shot himself in a Manhattan nightclub. He spent two years in prison, and his career never recovered. In March, he was asked about Morant in an interview on “Cartoon showHe said.
“If I’m talking to him, he’s like, ‘If you can’t learn anything, learn from me,'” Buress said. “Just make better decisions because he’s so young that you don’t want that label to go forward. He has a chance to be the face of the NBA, he’s a great player and you want to continue to see him mature as a person as his game gets better.
A negative reputation can be hard to shake, and reactions to Morant’s behavior have been mixed. ESPN analyst and former NBA player JJ Redick, like many others, argued that Morant He should not be severely punished If he does not break the law. TNT analyst and former NBA player Charles Barkley took issue with Morant, saying the rules are different for public figures. Nike did not respond to a request for comment, but Morant’s shoes no longer search his name on nike.com. A Powerade spokeswoman said the company had “no updates” about Morant’s contract.
Arenas He lost his shoe deal with Adidas Because of the gun incident. He also pleaded guilty to one felony firearm charge and was sentenced to 30 days in the halfway house. That was a decade ago, but Arenas has made our voices heard when athletes are in trouble. Still, in November, the Wizards honored him with a framed jersey at halftime of a “throwback night” game.
“We all throw around the phrase ‘be responsible for your actions,'” Arenas said. But are we really going to let that person be held accountable? When we saw: ‘Well, I’m not touching a gun anymore. He didn’t behave that way to want to be around guns. He never looked at the gun. Why did he do that? Is that what you want the world to remember?
“We want the person to change their behavior, but we don’t want to accept when they do.”