Ja Morant Says It 'Hurt' to Hear Grizzlies Fans Tell Him to Sit in Return from Injury

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVDecember 21, 2021

Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant (12) plays in the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Oklahoma City Thunder Monday, Dec. 20, 2021, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)
AP Photo/Brandon Dill

Ja Morant had a relatively quiet return from his left knee injury in the Memphis Grizzlies' 102-99 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night, but he was especially upset by some of the hometown fans in the game.

"I was running down the court, and I heard some of my fans courtside tell me I need to sit back out," Morant said after the game. "So, I just don't understand what they wanted to get out of that. I feel like that just makes it worse."

The Grizzlies went 10-2 with a league-best plus-16.5 net rating while Morant was out with a sprained knee, but they couldn't beat 10-19 Oklahoma City in his return as he finished with 16 points, eight assists, six rebounds and two steals on 6-of-12 shotting.

"I’m just frustrated," he told reporters. "Normally—y'all have seen it—when anybody says something negative about me, it fuels me. But, tonight, the remarks from the fans actually hurt."

The 22-year-old noted the fans were chanting "M-V-P" a few weeks earlier. He wrote on Twitter that he will take a break from social media, although he did have a positive message for those supporting him:

Ja Morant @JaMorant

appreciate da real ones 🖤

The third-year guard is still in the midst of his best season, averaging 23.7 points, 6.9 assists, 5.6 rebounds and 1.6 steals while improving his outside shooting (36.4 percent from three).