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Judge rules that Grizzlies star Ja Morant acted in self-defense in 2022 altercation with teenager

In Sports
April 10, 2024

A Tennessee judge ruled Monday that Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant acted fairly in self-defense when he punched a teenager at his home in 2022, according to ESPN’s Baxter Holmes.

The judge, Shelby County Circuit Judge Carol Chumney, determined that Morant “enjoys a presumption of civil immunity” under Tennessee’s self-defense immunity statute, per ESPN, and that the teenager’s legal team failed to prove that Morant did not act in self-defense in this case.

The incident in question stems from a pickup basketball game at Morant’s home in July 2022. Joshua Holloway, who was 17 at the time, told police that Morant punched him 12 or 13 times during the game and claimed that the strikes caused a “large knot” to form on the side of his head. Holloway also said that Morant went into his home after the incident and came back out with a gun to threaten him. Holloway then filed a lawsuit later that year accusing Morant of assault.

Morant testified at a civil immunity hearing in Memphis in December that he “swung first” at Holloway to protect himself after Holloway threw a ball that hit him in the face. One of Morant’s friends, Davonte Pack, was arrested for misdemeanor assault after he allegedly punched Holloway during the incident, too, but that charge was later dismissed.

MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE - MARCH 02: Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies during the first half against the Portland Trail Blazers at FedExForum on March 02, 2024 in Memphis, Tennessee. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)

Ja Morant of the Memphis Grizzlies during the first half against the Portland Trail Blazers at FedExForum on March 2, 2024 in Memphis, Tennessee. (Photo by Justin Ford/Getty Images)

A trial was set to begin later this month, but it was expected to be delayed. After Monday’s ruling, the case is now behind the two-time NBA All-Star.

“We’re disappointed, and we will continue to take the steps necessary to protect and advocate for Joshua,” Rebecca Adelman, Holloway’s attorney, told ESPN.

The incident was one of several that Morant has been linked to in recent years. He allegedly threatened the head of security at a Memphis mall in an incident in 2022. His entourage also allegedly threatened Indiana Pacers staff after a contentious game last season, and Morant was suspended twice for brandishing a firearm on social media — first at a Colorado nightclub and then again in a vehicle. He was most recently suspended for 25 games to start the 2023-24 season.

Morant appeared in just nine games for the Grizzlies this season. He sustained a torn labrum in his right shoulder during a training session in January, and then underwent season-ending surgery. He’s expected to be ready to go before the start of next season. Morant averaged 25.1 points, 8.1 assists and 5.6 rebounds in his nine games this season.

The Grizzlies hold just a 27-51 record with four games left in the regular season. Without Morant, they are set to miss the playoffs for the first time since 2020.

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