Memphis Zoo Names Giraffe Calf 'Ja Raffe' After Grizzlies Star Ja Morant

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistNovember 19, 2020

Memphis Grizzlies' Ja Morant (12) makes a pass during an NBA basketball game against San Antonio Spurs Sunday, Aug. 2, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, Pool)
Ashley Landis/Associated Press

Ja Morant received many accolades during his rookie season with the Memphis Grizzlies, but the city's zoo found a unique way to immortalize the 21-year-old superstar. 

On Thursday, the Memphis Zoo announced it has named its new giraffe Ja Raffe in honor of the 2019-20 NBA Rookie of the Year. 

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The @MemphisZoo named their newest giraffe after @JaMorant 😂 His name is "Ja Raffe” (via @memgrizz) https://t.co/yZsS4B8f2k

Ja Raffe was born on Nov. 10 to Niklas and Angela Kate. The pair previously had a baby girl in 2017 that the Memphis Zoo named Panya. The newest addition to the herd gives the Memphis Zoo a total of seven giraffes.

Morant needed no time to become the most celebrated professional athlete in Memphis. He was selected No. 2 overall in the 2019 NBA draft, averaged 17.8 points and 7.3 assists in 67 starts and led the Grizzlies to the play-in game against the Portland Trail Blazers for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference playoffs. 

The Murray State product became the second player in franchise history to be named NBA Rookie of the Year, joining Pau Gasol in 2001-02.