Wilbon made the remark during a discussion about Morant's latest gun video on Sunday's (May 14) episode of NBA Countdown, the New York Post reports. The Grizzlies guard appeared to be in a car holding a gun on Instagram Live over the weekend, just over two months after he was seen with a firearm outside of a strip club in Colorado.
“This is up to Ja. This is up to him,” Wilbon said Sunday. “He’s old enough now – he’s not the normal 23, 24-year-old. He’s not. … There are people who could be around him who are gonna have to help lead him out of this. We hear about four or five days or eight days or whatever at some facility in Florida, that’s a joke. That’s PR. And so you could try to PR your way out of this through other social media forms and all of that. But the question is, is he gonna do the work that is required of himself to get out of this and for this not to be the end?"
The Pardon the Interruption star went on to say that he's banning his son from owning Morant's signature sneaker.
“Because what’s gonna happen now? Nike gonna pull that shoe? Is Powerade gonna pull that drink?" Wilbon said. "I know in my house, I told Matthew, ‘You can’t have the shoe. I’m not buying that shoe. You’re not buying that shoe. Our money as a family is not going toward that.’ And so I’m not the only one who’s gonna feel that way.”
Morant was initially caught brandishing a gun on a March 4 Instagram Live, a move that got him suspended for eight games.
When Morant said he was stepping away from the team following the incident, Nike, who released the Ja 1 last month, stood by the guard.
“We appreciate Ja’s accountability and that he is taking the time to get the help he needs,” Nike said in a statement at the time. “We support his prioritization of his well-being.”
Nike hasn't commented on the latest gun video, but a new Morant shoe, "Hunger," is set to be released on May 25. The Grizzlies announced Sunday that they suspended Morant from all team activities.
As for Wilbon, the NBA analyst said he's “fascinated” with the basketball star.
“He’s so smart; we talk about intelligence, you listen to Ja Morant postgame, I mean, the engagement level and the intellect are unmistakable,” Wilbon said. “But yet, this whole fake gangster theme that I thought we were past as a culture some years ago — I guess he’s not past it, he and his. And it’s just, it’s sad. It’s sad. It saddens me that this kid cannot get through this stage and see his way through a brighter time. And like Jalen, I’m hopeful it’s gonna happen, but who’s gonna help lead him? Who’s gonna help get him there?”