Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant and coach Taylor Jenkins said Friday in a virtual news conference that Utah Jazz fans have a reputation around the NBA for the type of inappropriate behavior in Game 2 that resulted in three fans being banned indefinitely from attending future Jazz games. “I mean, I have heard about Utah before, so I invited a lot of people, double digits, for sure,” said Morant, a second-year player, when asked about the comments from fans at Vivint Arena during Utah’s 141-129 win in Game 2 that were condemned by Jazz ownership and management as being inappropriate.
Morant said he is hopeful that the NBA will look into placing all visiting family and friends in the same section on the road so that their can be more control surrounding their environment inside the arena. “My family actually was surrounded by a lot of Utah fans in the middle, so it was kind of tough for them to be able to cheer without somebody saying anything,” Morant said. “I’m not going to sit here and act like it’s all Utah fans. I actually got feedback from my family that some fans there in Utah actually took up for them and actually said something to the people who was saying those things to my family. My dad actually laughed and joked with a few. They bought each other drinks — so it’s not everybody, it’s just some. “Me and my family appreciate those Utah Jazz fans who was taking care of them, laughing and joking, and the ones who also stepped up and said something to the three who were banned.”
Memphis teammates Jonas Valanciunas and De’Anthony Melton also addressed the situation regarding Morant’s family and suggested they weren’t surprised by treatment dished out by a few Utah fans. “About the fan treatment, I mean, this is unacceptable,” Valanciunas said. “That’s terrible. I mean, especially families and everybody. I don’t know what to say. This is tough to see and one thing I hope is our fans are going to be different because we are above that and we gonna treat everybody the same and be nice to opposite team, too.
Shams Charania: When reached for comment on difference between Porzingis-LeBron James‘ situation, NBA spokesman Mike Bass: “While we understand the inclination to compare this incident to protocol violations by other players, including LeBron James, those facts are very different.” Statement: pic.twitter.com/MxbeDkVQz4