Ja Morant cleared in 2022 assault case

A Tennessee judge decided in favor of Memphis Grizzlies star point Ja Morant in connection to a civil lawsuit filed in September 2022 for his involvement in an altercation with then-17-year-old Joshua Holloway, ruling it was an act of self-defense.
Memphis Grizzlies v Orlando Magic
Memphis Grizzlies v Orlando Magic / Don Juan Moore/GettyImages

At long last, a verdict regarding the lawsuit filed against Ja Morant of the Memphis Grizzlies in September 2022 for his involvement in an altercation stemming from a pickup basketball game, which led to the point guard punching then-17-year-old Joshua Holloway.

ESPN's Baxter Holmes reported that a Tennessee judge ruled Morant "fairly acted in self-defense when he punched a teenager," referencing a court filing he was able to obtain.

Judge rules Ja Morant acted in self-defense in 2022 dispute with teenager

Holmes adds the decision comes less than a handful of months after Morant testified in December 2023, when he confessed to throwing the first punch at Holloway, adding that he did it to protect himself during the dispute that ultimately led to the civil suit after the teenager allegedly struck him in the face with a basketball and stepped toward him. 

Morant's friend, Davonte Pack, punched Holloway in retaliation after the incident, which led to his arrest on a charge of misdemeanor assault. But the indictment against Pack was later dropped.

Shelby County Circuit Judge Carol Chumney ruled that Morant was within his right to do so on Monday under Tennessee's self-defense immunity statute, citing how Holloway and his legal team must find a sufficient way to prove that Morant was not acting in self-protection in preparation for the trail that "was scheduled to begin in late April but is expected to be moved to a later date," per Holmes.

While Morant is not out of the woods yet, this was a massive win for him as he looks to move past his previous off-court mistakes that resulted in him beginning the 2023-24 NBA season serving a 25-game suspension for conduct deemed detrimental to the league, including widespread social media videos of him flashing and possessing a firearm on multiple occasions.

Morant returned to the court and instantly revitalized a Grizzlies team that went 6-19 during his extended absence to begin the season, drilling a buzzer-beater against the New Orleans Pelicans on Dec. 19 and rattling off three straight wins afterward. 

However, it was short-lived because Morant suffered a season-ending shoulder injury that required surgery after just nine games. He averaged 25.1 points, 8.1 assists, and 5.6 rebounds per contest.

Now, the Grizzlies are 27-51 and have the third-worst record in the Western Conference in what has been a season to forget.