LOS ANGELES (AFP) — Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant was accused in police reports last year of punching a 17-year-old, US media reported Wednesday, but his agent said the rising NBA star acted in self defense.
No criminal charges were filed against Morant in the incident, which took place during a pickup basketball game at Morant's Tennessee house in July 2022.
In police records obtained by the Washington Post , the unnamed teenaged boy accused Morant of punching him "12-13 times" during a pickup basketball game at Morant's Tennessee house in July 2022.
In interviews with police the teen said that after their altercation Morant went into his house and "re-emerged with a gun visible in the waistband of his pants."
Morant told police he "swung first" but felt he was acting in self-defense after the teenager threw a basketball that hit him in the head, later making a comment that Morant found threatening.
Morant's agent Jim Tanner strongly denied in a statement issued Wednesday that the player had a gun.
"The July 26 incident was purely self-defense," Tanner said in a statement that was posted on Tandem Sports and Entertainment's Twitter feed.
"Again, this was fully investigated by law enforcement, they came to the decision not to charge Ja with any crime.
"Any of the dozens of witnesses will confirm Ja acted in self-defense and that he did not have a firearm."
Days before that incident, the head of security at a Memphis mall told police he felt "threatened" by Morant and a group of his associates after an incident in the shopping center's parking lot.
Although a police report was made, no charges were filed.
TMZ reported in January that the teenager and his mother had sued Morant, and Tanner called it "disturbing that unsubstantiated rumors and gossip are being put out by people motivated to tear Ja down and tarnish his reputation for their own financial gain."
Morant, the second overall pick in the 2019 draft and a two-time All-Star, was embroiled in controversy in early February, when the NBA investigated allegations by the Indiana Pacers that Morant's entourage "aggressively confronted" members of their traveling party, possibly pointing a red laser at them.