Ja Morant speaks for the first time about punching teen in face during pick-up game

Ja Morant speaks for the first time about punching teen in face during pick-up game

He pulled up his shorts. That was how Ja Morant explained why he punched a teenager in the face during a game of pickup basketball at his Memphis home in July of 2022. Joshua Holloway, who was 17 at the time of the incident, is suing Morant for hitting him after a game of basketball turned violent, with Morant claiming Holloway threw a one-handed pass into Morant’s face in a check-ball situation. Morant said he took the check-ball to his face as the opening salvo to an actual fight, and claims he hit Holloway in self-defense.

It’s the first time Morant has spoken about the case publicly. Though he missed the first 22 games of the NBA season due to a suspension for flashing guns on multiple occasions, Morant is expected to be back with his team when his suspension expires on December 19.

At an immunity hearing, which will decide whether the case against Morant should be dismissed under Tennessee’s “Stand Your Ground” law, Morant testified that Holloway grew increasingly frustrated after losing several pick-up games. When Holloway’s attorney asked Morant if he considered a basketball to the face to be a lethal weapon, Morant responded, “It hurt.” Morant went on to say that, during the altercation, he asked Holloway, “What you on?” Morant said Holloway didn’t respond, but began pulling up his shorts.

“Him pulling up his shorts, where I’m from, that’s a fighting stance,” Morant testified.

“I hit him first — to protect myself.”

As Morant exited the stand on Monday, Judge Carol Chumney was heard saying, “Go play basketball,” to which Morant replied, “Still got a while.”

Several of Morant’s friends and family members are expected to testify on his behalf, including his father, Tee Morant, who told the court that his son regularly held pick-up games at his house and that the game with Holloway was “‘highly competitive’” with Morant and Holloway guarding each other and talking trash to one another.

The hearing is expected to continue through Wednesday, at which time the court will rule on whether Holloway’s suit can proceed or should be dismissed.

Original source here

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Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.