Home » After a walk on the wild side, can Ja Morant find the straight and narrow path?

After a walk on the wild side, can Ja Morant find the straight and narrow path?

by The Grio

Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies looks on during the third quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center on February 23, 2023 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.

Without looking at Ja Morant’s background, I figure he falls into one of two categories. 

Either he hails from a neighborhood faced with tough socioeconomic conditions, where those who fall prey are stereotypically awash in guns and violence. Or he rarely faced real drama (if ever), but he’s drawn to the lifestyle, attracted to the imagery dramatized onscreen and glorified in music. 

But Morant’s background really doesn’t matter. 

At 23 years old, he’s an NBA superstar, a face of the league who recently signed a five-year deal worth $193 million. Last week, Powerade announced a new partnership with Morant, who already has an endorsement deal with Nike. There’s no excuse for genuine thug life at his income bracket and Q rating. 

Morant should satisfy any attraction to that world like the rest of us, via remote control. 

I’ve enjoyed the “Power” franchise with Ghost, Tommy and Kanan, much as I liked Omar, Marlo and Avon Barksdale in “The Wire.” Denzel Washington in “American Gangster” and Forest Whitaker in “Godfather of Harlem” offer compelling entertainment options based on real people, which I’m here for. And when the soundtracks are heavy on gangsta rap, my head bops if the beat is tight.

But such fiction is all too real for too many Black men, often under the belief they have no other choice. Viable options are considered boring and corny, if not totally unreachable. It leaves a path that often leads to cops and coroners. Morant can make that his reality, too, by continuing to act up.

After the past week, I…

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