Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson takes aim at Ja Morant’s gun troubles in WWE SmackDown appearance

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Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was calling out more than just opponents when he returned to WWE SmackDown in Memphis Friday night. 

In a song, similar to a skit he did in 2003, Johnson called out WrestleMania opponents Cody Rhodes and Seth Rollins but referenced Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant and his recent off-court struggles to help deliver one of his punch lines.

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson during the WWE Wrestlemania XL Kickoff Feb. 8, 2024, at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.  (Louis Grasse/PXimages/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

“You’re so damn desperate to make them all cheer, but The Rock is going to make that title disappear,” Johnson sang. 

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“You’re simply an embarrassment, son. Just like Ja Morant when he’s waving a gun.”    

As the crowd roared, Johnson broke character and said with a smile, “We love you, Ja. We love you brother. Get well soon.” 

The remark was a reference to Morant’s issues off the court that resulted in two league-issued suspensions. 

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Ja Morant vs Spurs

Ja Morant of the Memphis Grizzlies during a game against the San Antonio Spurs at FedEx Forum Jan. 2, 2024, in Memphis.  (Justin Ford/Getty Images)

Morant, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2019 draft, 2020 NBA Rookie of the Year and 2022 Most Improved Player, was suspended for the first 25 games of the season for displaying a gun on social media. 

It was his second such suspension in less than a year after he missed eight games last season for a similar offense.

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Morant’s season was again cut short, this time because of injury. 

Ja Morant with a sling

Ja Morant of the Memphis Grizzlies reacts after Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns missed a free throw during the second half at Footprint Center Jan. 7, 2024, in Phoenix, Ariz. (Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

Earlier this year, the 24-year-old NBA player was ruled out for the remainder of the season after injuring his shoulder during practice. During his return from the second suspension, Morant averaged 25.1 points in nine games, and the Grizzlies went 6-3 in those contests.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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