In a heartwarming display of sportsmanship, Memphis Grizzlies star guard Ja Morant stepped up to help a young fan in distress. 11-year-old Ellie Hughes, a devoted Grizzlies fan from Forrest City, Arkansas, had her prized basketball, which she had collected signatures from players on for the past six years, stolen during Monday’s game against the San Antonio Spurs.
But Morant, who had heard of the incident through social media, reached out to Hughes’ family and invited her to Wednesday night’s rematch against the Spurs. Not only did he give her his game-worn jersey, but he also gifted her a pair of his highly-coveted Ja 1 Nike shoes, which haven’t been released to the public yet.
“It’s something I pretty much love to do,” said Morant of his act of kindness. “You touch somebody’s heart like that. A big fan of the Grizzlies for years. It’s moments like that that mean the most to them. Something they will never forget.”
The Grizzlies guard also put on a show on the court, scoring 38 points and leading the team to a 135-129 victory over the Spurs for their season-high eighth straight win. Morant, who had missed the previous two games due to a thigh injury, shot 14 of 25 from the field and had a highlight-reel dunk over Spurs center Jakob Poeltl with 3:35 remaining in the game to secure the win for Memphis.