Memphis Grizzlies superstar Ja Morant said players around the NBA have started to respect his game, but he noted his willingness to talk trash in the heat of battle has rubbed some opponents the wrong way.
Morant discussed his relationship with fellow players Tuesday on The Pivot podcast (via ClutchPoints):
"Just because I'm me and I speak on whatever I want to and say what I'm feeling at the time that some people don't like me. So that's why I bust their ass."<br><br>Ja Morant feels like some players don't like him 👀<br><br>(via <a href="https://twitter.com/thepivot?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@thepivot</a>)<a href="https://t.co/JksV3ShaeF">pic.twitter.com/JksV3ShaeF</a>
The 23-year-old Murray State product is already building an impressive resume. He won the Rookie of the Year Award in 2019-20 and he's coming off a campaign where he earned his first All-Star selection while capturing the Most Improved Player Award.
Morant averaged 27.4 points, 6.7 assists, 5.7 rebounds and 1.2 steals while shooting 49.3 percent from the field in 57 games last season. He finished seventh in MVP voting.
One thing the dynamic point guard doesn't lack is confidence.
In July, Morant told Bleacher Report's Taylor Rooks he wanted to go up against Michael Jordan and the dynastic 1990s Chicago Bulls.
"I would have cooked [MJ], too," he said. "Nobody got more confidence than 12. ... I'm definitely gonna go and say nobody is gonna beat me one-on-one in anything. I don't care what sport it is, soccer. Who the best player in soccer? C'mon. We can play."
Morant and the Grizzlies have made steady progress across his three seasons, going from 34 wins in his rookie year to 56 last season, when they reached the Western Conference Semifinals before losing to the eventual champion Golden State Warriors.
Memphis will look to take another step toward championship contention in 2022-23, and it wouldn't be a surprise if Morant finishes closer to the top of the MVP race.