Jason Whitlock: “I saw an exert from the Ja Morant interview and that’s when it hit me… I was like ‘this don’t feel right.’ This is starting to feel like a movie to me, just how quickly this thing is wrapping up. We’ve got this little happy ending, Ja went to counseling, and now he’s coming back to the NBA. This all just happened— boom, boom, boom… I watched it [the interview] and my mind started going places, and I thought of the movie ‘Hustle and Flow.’ ‘Hustle and Flow’ is a movie about Memphis, a pimp turned rapper, who at the end of the movie is in jail doing 11 months but the radio is starting to play his rap song… It’s about Memphis where Ja plays. The NBA is doing its version of ‘Hustle and Logo.’ This is a sequel to ‘Hustle and Flow.’ This all feels very inorganic to me, very controlled, and manipulated. It feels like Hollywood. That movie really canonized, normalized, and popularized this whole motif from crime, to rap, to riches. It’s been popularized where a lot of young Black men think that’s the American dream— crime, to rap, to riches. This feels like the NBA’s version of that. This is part of a marketing campaign for Ja Morant and the NBA, and somebody to replace 38-year-old LeBron James, who just doesn’t sell the way that he used to. This feels inauthentic, all of it. The guy spent a couple of days at a counseling program getting Reiki and Tantra happy endings. This man is flashing a gun a strip club, has all these other problems, and they ask him about ‘counseling'? It was Monday that he was announced to be at counseling, and on Wednesday he was out of counseling and headed back to the NBA. This doesn’t feel real, it feels cinematic. It feels ‘Hustle and Logo’… Social media has prioritized ‘content’ over ‘competition’, and that’s all Ja Morant is -- ‘content', he’s not a human being. the NBA is not leaning into competition, they’re leaning into ‘narrative’, highlights, gossip, debate, and all this content. Sports used to be about the highest level of competition, that’s what they sold. ‘Come see Magic Johnson and Larry Bird try to destroy each other on the court.’ LeBron isn’t competing against anybody right now. The last decade and a half of his career has been competing against the myth and reality of Michael Jordan, someone who doesn’t play, and someone who retired 20 years ago. The game isn’t even on the court, it’s in the content machine. Content is what Hollywood and the music industry have always been about, and they created this whole little negative satanic blackmail driven machine of… ‘you know what the best content is? Black criminality, and we’re going to put it in music, we’re going to put it in TV shows, we’re going to put it in movies, and now we’re going to make it front and center in our sports leagues.’ That’s what I see with Ja Morant.” (Full Segment Above)
Watch Jason Whitlock and his panel of co-hosts Royce White, TJ Moe, and Steve Kim discuss ESPN’s recent sit-down interview with Ja Morant that was supposed to be Morant’s first opportunity to explain his side of the story in regard to a disastrous and illicit few months off-the-court for the 23-year-old.
Check out the segment above as Whitlock and his ‘Fearless’ co-hosts mock ESPN and Jalen Rose for how self-serving and one-sided the interview was in favor of Morant, with Rose failing to ask any pertinent follow-up questions to Morant’s vague and indifferent responses regarding the dishonorable accusations levied against him.