NBA

Judge Rules Ja Morant Defended Himself During Pickup Game Fight

Apr 9, 2024, 2:04 PM | Updated: 2:06 pm

Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant preparing to face the Utah Jazz (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Ima...

Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant preparing to face the Utah Jazz (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

(Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP)Ja Morant acted in self-defense when a teenager accused the two-time NBA All-Star of punching him during a pickup game at the home of the Memphis Grizzlies guard’s parents in 2022, a judge has ruled.

Shelby County Court Circuit Judge Carol Chumney cited Tennessee law on when the issue of self-defense can be raised, and she wrote in a ruling issued Monday that Morant “enjoys a presumption of civil immunity.”

RELATED: Ja Morant Receives 25 Game Suspension For Latest Incident

The lawsuit filed by Joshua Holloway accuses Morant of assaulting him during a pickup game on July 26, 2022. Then 17, Holloway had been invited to play at the private court of the Morant family. Holloway, now 18, plays basketball for Samford University.

Morant claimed he was defending himself after Holloway aggressively threw the basketball at him with a one-handed, baseball-style pass and hit him in the face during a check-ball situation.

A “check” is a common practice in pickup games in which two opposing players pass the ball to each other and check to see if their teammates are ready, often before starting a game or after a foul.

The judge wrote that “a provocateur generally cannot invoke self-defense; if you start a fight, then you should be ready to finish it.” The judge also noted that Holloway was the only “provocateur,” with everyone else just wanting to play basketball.

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Judge Rules Ja Morant Defended Himself During Pickup Game Fight