Police in Tennessee conducted a welfare check on Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant following cryptic messages on his Instagram account Wednesday, with officials telling ESPN that he’s just “taking a break from social media.”
Earlier Wednesday, Morant posted — and then deleted — messages and pictures to social media saying “Love ya ma [blue heart emoji],” “Love ya pops [blue heart emoji]” and “You da greatest baby girl [blue heart emoji] love ya.” He then followed those with a post that simply said, “Bye.”
The Public Information Officer for the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office confirmed to ESPN that officers went to Morant’s home on Wednesday morning to check on him and “he is fine.”
Morant, 23, was suspended from all team activities following a video of him holding a gun that circulated on social media on May 13.
The video appeared during an Instagram Live session on the account of Morant’s friend Davonte Pack, with the All-Star flashing a handgun in a car while rapping along with a song. The video was deleted.
Morant left the Grizzlies and entered a counseling program in March after a video showed him holding a gun while intoxicated at a Denver club when the Grizzlies were in town to play the Nuggets. He was eventually suspended eight games after meeting with NBA commissioner Adam Silver, who called Morant’s conduct “irresponsible, reckless and potentially very dangerous.”
At the time of the suspension, Morant told ESPN that he realizes “what I have to lose” and said he would try to be “more responsible, more smarter and staying away from all the bad decisions.”
Morant has been involved in several off-court incidents over the past year. He is being sued by a high school prospect after a fight during a pickup game in Morant’s backyard, where Morant and Pack are alleged to have punched the boy in the head. The teenager told police that Morant entered his house after the fight and came back outside with a gun in his waistband.
Morant’s five-year, $194 million max contract is set to begin this coming season. It could have escalated to a supermax if he had made All-NBA this season; he was not voted onto that team, which cost him about $39 million in future earnings. He has endorsement deals with Nike and Powerade, though the sports drink company pulled an ad featuring Morant after the March video and the ad currently is not running.
Morant averaged 26.2 points this season and helped Memphis secure the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference playoffs.
ESPN’s Tim MacMahon and The Associated Press contributed to this report.