Hogle Zoo Acquires Giraffe Named After Memphis Grizzlies Star Ja Morant

Jun 23, 2022, 11:56 AM
Ja Raffe - Hogle Zoo...
(Photo courtesy of Utah's Hogle Zoo Instagram)
(Photo courtesy of Utah's Hogle Zoo Instagram)

SALT LAKE CITY – Trades this time of year is typical in the NBA but the Hogle Zoo made a deal to acquire a Giraffe that is named after Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant.

The Hogle Zoo announced on Instagram that they have added “Ja Raffe” from the Memphis Zoo and is in Salt Lake City to join the herd there.

“We welcomed our newest addition to African Savanna, Ja Raffe!” The Hogle Zoo wrote on Instagram. “Standing nearly at 10 feet tall, and at a tender age of 1.5 years-old, we can’t wait for him to meet our gals, Stephanie and Minka! Both Stephanie and Minka were curious about their new roommate peeking over the nearby fencing to gawk at this not-so-grown up giant (he still has a way to grow). Ja Raffe will be in quarantine for the next 30 days or so, and we wish him a clean bill of health before he meets his new herd! Named after NBA star Ja Morant, Ja Raffe came to Utah’s Hogle Zoo from Memphis Zoo.”


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The move was a big deal as the NBA on ESPN’s Twitter account mentioned the announcement.

The Hogle Zoo will not be sending an animal back to Memphis in return, making it a one-Zoo acquisition.

“[Ja Raffe] was an offspring, so that means, more than likely, his parents will continue to reproduce,” Marilyn Hsiung of the Hogle Zoo told ESPN. “And when he’s of breeding age, he will be suggested to participate in the Species Survival Program, with our two female giraffes, Stephanie and Minka, here at Utah’s Hogle Zoo.”

Ja Raffe was born in November 2020 and received his name after Grizzlies star Ja Morant won the NBA Rookie of the Year award, following the 2019-20 season. He averaged 17.8 points per game and has risen to stardom, leading the Grizzlies to the Western Conference Finals and his first NBA All-Star appearance.

After Ja Raffe was born, Morant took to Twitter, sharing his excitement for the name of the baby Giraffe in Memphis.

As of now, the Hogle Zoo has no plans to change Ja Raffe’s name.

“I think we might have some really good opportunities with his name Ja Raffe, and we can still continue to make a strong connection with his name and that of Ja Morant,” Hsiung said.


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