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It’s no surprise that Ja Morant’s been known to autograph clothes or shoes for fans at games.
After Morant finished his postgame interview with Bally Sports, he took off his pink Ja 1 Nike shoes, which premiered on Christmas Day, and ran over to the baseline at FedExForum to autograph them for 9-year-old Zander Carr.
Carr, who wore a Morant jersey and a Grizzlies hat, started crying while thanking Morant over and over as he held up a sign that said “Ready to Jam out in my Ja 1s summer 2003.”
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Carr and his mother Krissi live in Gallatin, Tennessee, and made the nearly 240-mile drive to Memphis for the game as a birthday present. Morant gave them both hugs and also posed for pictures with them. He later sent out a tweet telling Carr to “go jam out my guy.”
“I can tell during warmups how big a fan he was. He was screaming my name, cheering for me making shots in warmups. I knew he was a big fan,” said Morant, who had 35 points, eight rebounds and five assists in the win. “I’m doing this thing where I’m giving a pair of my shoes out. Honestly, I know a lot of people want them right now and it’s not released yet in store and online. I read the sign and from then on, I knew who was getting the pair of shoes.
“You can tell how much he wanted it and loved it. It’s a great thing to see. It leaves you speechless when you see somebody that big of a fan of you to bust out and cry and then it was even more crazy to see his mom crying as well. I know that touched both of their hearts and it’s something they’ll never forget.”
It was a touching gesture for Morant, who shared on Twitter that he’ll pick 12 fans on Jan. 12 to receive a pair of his shoes based on who shares their story using the hashtag “#Jas12DaysofChristmas.” The shoes won’t be released to the public until April but Carr is now the only person in the world outside of Morant’s daughter Kaari and father Tee who own a pair.
The gift also became another reminder why Morant has endeared himself to fans beyond his high-flying, athletic ability.