MEMPHIS — If there’s anyone who knows what it is like to be a young and wealthy star in the NBA, it is University of Memphis basketball coach Penny Hardaway.
On Tuesday, Hardaway threw his support behind Grizzlies All-Star guard Ja Morant, who is being investigated by both the NBA and Glendale, Colorado police after a video surfaced on social media early Saturday morning that appears to show Morant holding up a handgun.
“We’re all praying for Ja. I’m here for Ja. I’m really close to the family. Not as close to Ja. We’re just praying for him,” Hardaway said. “He’s human. He’s young and we just got to continue to pray for him and support him.”
Morant remains away from the team and won’t play Tuesday night when the Grizzlies close out a four-game road trip against the Lakers. Hardaway sees this as an opportunity for this city to rally around one of its own.
“I think people understand how hard it is for young guys in the NBA with social media and so much stuff going on,” Hardaway said. “It’s tough and you need a great support system. He’s going to have a great support system now because everybody’s rallying around him. But it is tough. You’re 21, 22, 23 years old making millions of dollars. Social media is so crazy now. It’s, it’s difficult.”