Nike releases Ja Morant’s signature ‘Hunger’ colorway sneakers despite heavy criticism of the NBA’s guns, which sold out in minutes
JA Morant’s new Nike sneakers proved a huge hit with fans – despite his troubles off the pitch.
The 23-year-old Memphis Grizzlies star is currently suspended from the organization after branding a gun on Instagram Live earlier this month.
Morant served an eight-game suspension during the NBA regular season for a similar incident.
The 1.80m tall point guard initially signed a contract with Nike before being picked as the No. 2 overall pick in 2019.
In March, the company stayed loyal to Morant after he live-streamed a video while holding a gun at a nightclub near Denver.
A March 5 statement from Nike said: “We appreciate Ja’s sense of responsibility and that he takes the time to get the help he needs. We support his prioritization of his well-being.”
Following its second incident on May 13, the sportswear giant removed all of its shoes from its website last week and has not yet commented.
But on Thursday, Morant’s signature Hunger colorways appeared on Nike’s SNKRS app, where quick-thinking fans bought them in minutes for $110.
Per TMZResellers are already offering the shoes for US$200.
Earlier this week, ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith revealed that members of the NBA were “fearful” after Morant posted cryptic messages on social media.
The Memphis star uploaded a selection of family pictures to Instagram and captioned the final snap, “Bye.”
On his FanDuel show, Smith said, “For my part, I can tell you that I called the NBA league office.” [after Morant’s social media posts].
“They had no idea what was going on. They appeared and sounded a little scared.”
“There are a few players across the league that I have contacted. You felt uncomfortable.”
“A couple of his former teammates who used to play for the Memphis Grizzlies know a thing or two about Ja Morant — his habits, the company he keeps, the pressures on his shoulders.”
“They were worried. And obviously the police too.”
After the Instagram post went online, the police carried out a social check on Morant and it was immediately deleted on Wednesday morning.
police informed TMZ The NBA star was doing well and had decided to take a break from social media.