The eighth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies earned a split in the first two games of their playoff series against the top-seeded Utah Jazz, a major accomplishment for the young team looking for a historic upset. Unfortunately, the first playoff series of Ja Morant's career has been a bit sullied for his parents, after they experienced extremely inappropriate behavior in Salt Lake City.
The early NBA playoffs have seen multiple incidents between fans and star players. Russell Westbrookhad popcorn dumped on him in Philadelphia, Trae Youngwas spit at by a New York Knicks fan at Madison Square Garden, and now we have the incidents with Morant's parents being harassed.
The Jazz ejected three fans from the second game in the series on Wednesday. One fan reportedly made "a sexually explicit remark" at Jamie Morant, Ja's mother. His father, Tee, said another fan made a pretty hideous remark towards him: "I'll put a nickel in your back and watch you dance, boy." A third used explicit language towards Jamie Morant.
"The Utah Jazz have zero tolerance for offensive or disruptive behavior," the Jazz said Thursday, after the three fans were removed. "An incident occurred last night involving a verbal altercation during Game 2. Arena security staff intervened, and the investigation resulted in the removal and banning of three Jazz fans indefinitely. We apologize to all who were impacted by this unfortunate incident and condemn unacceptable fan behavior."
After responding to the Jazz release above, Ja Morant made sure to note that the majority of Jazz fans engaged in "good-natured trash talk" with his parents, and confronted the fans who got way out of line. He also retweeted fans that had positive interactions with his family.
Obviously the majority of Utah Jazz fans, and NBA fans as a whole, are respectful and would embrace the cool opportunity to watch one of the biggest games of Ja's career with his parents, even as rivals. There's no place for the racism and sexism that the Morants experienced from others, though it is good that the Jazz dealt with the situation quickly.
Game 3 in Memphis tips off at 9:30 p.m. ET on Saturday.