The uncertainty surrounding Ja Morant’s off-court issues, including two gun videos on Instagram Live, hasn’t affected his Nike popularity.
According to The Commercial Appeal, Nike released the new Ja 1 “Hunger” sneakers Thursday as planned, and the design with blue, red and black as the three main colors sold out within minutes on the SNKRS app — even as some local Memphis stores either didn’t receive the sneakers or had the in-store release put on hold.
The sneakers on the SNKRS app sold for $110, according to TMZ Sports, and the Wall Street Journal reported that a message appeared after 20 minutes noting that the sneakers were sold out.
Nike, which signed Morant to a deal in 2019, went ahead with the release of another sneaker tied to the Grizzlies star despite two gun videos in the last three months on Instagram Live, including one May 13 where he appeared to flash the gun while in a car.
In the week following the second video, the Ja 1 sneakers didn’t appear on the Nike website, suggesting that the relationship between the 23-year-old and Nike might’ve been altered — though the latter never suggested any sign of a breakup in a statement.
The Journal reported Thursday that the company “removed a webpage for the new sneaker from its main website.”
After the first gun video in early March, where Morant flashed a gun while at a Denver-area strip club and was suspended eight games, Nike supported him in a statement by writing that, “We appreciate Ja’s accountability and that he is taking the time to get the help he needs. We support his prioritization of his well-being.”
Morant was suspended from all team activities after the second video surfaced, and NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in an interview with ESPN that he was “shocked” and “expecting the worst” as the league conducted its investigation.
“I know I’ve disappointed a lot of people who have supported me,” Morant said in a statement to ESPN on May 16. “This is a journey and I recognize there is more work to do. My words may not mean much right now, but I take full accountability for my actions. I’m committed to continuing to work on myself.”
Police conducted a welfare check Wednesday on Morant after a series of social media posts addressed to his mother, father and daughter — including one that said “love ya ma” with a blue heart — were followed by a final slide that stated “bye.”
But during the check, Morant told police officers that he’s “taking a break from social media,” and a Shelby County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson told TMZ Sports that “he is fine.”
- Ja Morant’s new Nike sneakers sell out instantly despite gun concerns
- Check all news and articles from the latest NBA updates.