Ja Morant Takes The Stand, Claiming Self-Defense In Punching Teen
At the beginning of March 2023 , we reported how Memphis police records show that Ja Morant and his friend Davonte Pack were accused of repeatedly punching a teenage boy in the head, while also threatening him with a gun last summer.
The teenager reportedly threw a ball in Morant’s face during a pickup basketball game at Morant’s house, which led to the Grizzlies star allegedly punching him in the face repeatedly, leaving a large lump on the side of boy’s head.
Now, the Memphis Grizzlies star point guard took the stand in his own defense on Wednesday, denying accusations that he punched a teenager in the face during the altercation in July 2022.
Morant is facing aggravated assault charges in the incident, which allegedly took place at a cookout in downtown Memphis.
During his testimony, Morant stated that he acted in self-defense, claiming that Joshua Holloway, the alleged victim, initiated the altercation by bumping into him and making threats. Morant said that he felt threatened by Holloway’s actions and that he punched him in the face to protect himself.
Morant’s defense team also presented evidence that Holloway had a history of aggression and violence. They argued that he was the aggressor in the altercation and that Morant was justified in defending himself.
“You testified that this basketball was a weapon, yes?” Morant was asked by Holloway’s attorney, Rebecca Adelman, during the cross-examination part of his testimony.
“Yes,” Morant replied.
“A lethal weapon?” she asked.
“It hurt,” Morant said.
Morant testified that during the altercation, he asked Holloway, “What you on?” Then, Morant said, Holloway didn’t reply but instead pulled up his shorts.
“Him pulling up his shorts, where I’m from, that’s a fighting stance,” Morant said.
Morant said Holloway took a step toward him and that he then stepped forward and punched Holloway.
“I hit him first — to protect myself,” Morant said.
The prosecution has argued that Morant’s actions were excessive and that he could have avoided the altercation altogether. They also pointed out that Morant is a professional athlete and should be held to a higher standard of conduct.
The trial is expected to continue this week, and a verdict could be reached as early as Friday. The outcome of the trial could have significant implications for Morant’s career and legal standing.