Grizzlies’ Ja Morant testifies he punched teenager who was in ‘a fighting stance’

Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant testified in a Memphis civil court Monday that he was acting in self-defense when he allegedly hit a teenager during a pickup game at his home earlier this year, according to reports from the courtroom. Morant is a defendant in a civil suit, filed by the teenager involved in the alleged altercation.

Morant, 24, testified that the incident began when Joshua Holloway, who was 17 years old at the time of the incident, checked the ball to Morant by putting the ball at his feet, which Morant argued was a disrespectful form of checking the ball. The two then passed the ball back and forth, Morant said, until Holloway threw the ball back hard and hit Morant on the side of the face.

Morant said he then asked Holloway, “What you on?” before Holloway pulled up his pant leg and took a step toward him.

“Him pulling up his shorts, where I’m from, that’s a fighting stance,” Morant said, according to The Commercial Appeal.

Morant said the two then stepped towards one another and stood chest-to-chest. Morant said he then hit Holloway in self-defense. Holloway took a few steps back and then forward again, Morant said. Morant said he thought he was going to get hit, but instead, Davonte Pack punched Holloway, who is currently playing basketball as a freshman at Samford University.

During questioning, his lawyer took out a basketball and he and Morant tossed the ball back and forth to show off a chest pass. Then the lawyer for the plaintiff, Rebecca Adelman, had Morant do the same when she cross-examined him. Morant told Adelman during cross-examination that the ball hurt when it hit him.

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According to The Commercial Appeal, Adelman asked Morant if he feared that Holloway was going to punch him, to which Morant answered affirmatively. When Adelman next asked Morant if he thought that punch would have hurt, he said “That’s what a punch does.”

Morant is currently serving a 25-game suspension — unrelated to this matter — without pay for conduct detrimental to the league.

Required reading

  • Ja Morant, Adam Silver to meet as Grizzlies star nears possible NBA return after suspension
  • Trotter: In Ja Morant case, empathy goes but so far
  • Amick: Inside NBA’s Ja Morant suspension ruling and what comes next

(Photo: Joe Murphy / NBAE via Getty Images)

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