Grizzlies: People assumed Ja Morant’s celebration meant finger guns.

During the Memphis Grizzlies’ intense 116-115 overtime victory against the New Orleans Pelicans, Ja Morant electrified the court. Catching an alley-oop from Marcus Smart, Morant stunned the crowd by breaking out into a celebratory dance late in the game.

His gesture, a lifting of both arms with a distinctive hand motion, quickly became a viral sensation on social media. However, it sparked a wave of speculation and concerns regarding its interpretation. Some questioned whether Morant was mimicking a gun celebration, especially troubling given his recent return from a 25-game suspension for a similar incident on Instagram Live.

Ja Morant

Clarifications soon emerged. It was revealed that Morant was actually performing the “Rock Ya Hips” dance, popularized in New Orleans by influencers Subtweet Shawn and T99zy. Subtweet Shawn confirmed this, emphasizing that the dance holds cultural significance in New Orleans and isn’t related to firearms.

The dance originated from social media in July, amassing over 300,000 views on TikTok and gaining traction in various sports circles. It found its way into the realm of football, basketball, and even NFL players incorporated it into their celebrations.

The distinctive moves involve a rhythmic side-to-side sway while extending the arms, culminating in a synchronized hand movement. However, this hand gesture, akin to Morant’s, raised concerns, especially in light of his recent suspension.

Ja Morant
Ja Morant

In response, Morant took to social media to clarify his intent by posting “Rock Ya Hips” on X, a former social media platform known as Twitter. Nevertheless, former NBA players like Chandler Parsons and Lou Williams expressed disapproval, urging Morant to avoid any actions that could be misinterpreted, considering the scrutiny he’s under.

The incident sheds light on the complexities of gestures and their interpretations, emphasizing the importance of awareness and sensitivity, particularly in high-profile situations. It’s a reminder of the scrutiny athletes face and the need for conscientiousness in their actions, even during moments of celebration.

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