It’s safe to assume that Memphis Grizzlies star guard Ja Morant wouldn’t have made it to the NBA if he didn’t have a solid support system. Without the guidance from his dad, Tee Morant, the world wouldn’t be seeing the guard’s searing talents and a lot of it has to do with his unusual motivating tactics.
Harshest critic in the world
According to Morant, his dad may be his harshest critic in the world. Despite being tagged as one of the fastest rising stars in the NBA, Morant has yet to please his father.
It seems unorthodox. Yet it’s a formula that has worked for Morant pretty much all his life. After all, Morant was not on the radar of the top college programs while in high school. The only Division 1 team who wanted him was South Carolina — his hometown college team. Scouts might have been turned off by Morant’s relatively small stature and seeming lack of athleticism. Reports reveal that it was only in senior high school that he was able to dunk.
Most fans know his story. Morant was accidentally discovered by an assistant coach from Murray State who saw him playing a three-on-three game. In Murray State, Morant quickly rose up the ranks as one of the country’s top prospects. After two seasons in Murray State, Morant declared for the NBA Draft and was picked second overall.
Guiding the Grizzlies
As of writing, the Grizzlies sport a 50-23 record for second in the competitive Western Conference with nine games remaining in the regular season. Whether they lock in the second seed or not is a trivial matter at this point.
What’s captivating is that Morant is just in his third year in the league. And it is not as if he’s surrounded by a slew of veterans. Core players like Jaren Jackson Jr., Dillon Brooks, Desmond Bane, among others, haven’t been around in the league for that long.
There are a plethora of reasons for their success. One could be the front office’s patience in building the roster from the ground up. The Grizzlies did not court any superstar to come to their team. They remained patient and kept a close eye on young prospects.
Head coach Taylor Jenkins, too, has to be given ample credit. He was gifted with talented players, but it takes remarkable skill to unlock everyone’s potential. Finally, there’s Ja Morant — the feisty guard who’s not even in his prime but is making the game look so easy.
It would be interesting to find out if Morant uses his dad’s motivational tactics on his teammates. That might be the real secret to the Grizzlies’ success.