He was dropping more than dimes.
Memphis Grizzlies All-Star point guard Ja Morant dribbled and drooled over a stripper at the same Denver-area jiggle joint where he blew $50,000 in tips — and flashed a gun 48 hours later — shocking photos obtained by the New York Post and insiders reveal.
The new March 2 snaps show the bad-boy baller at raunchy Shotgun Willie’s in Glendale, CO, transfixed by the backboard of a G-string-clad brunette straddling his lap inside in the VIP room — and almost every inch of surface covered in cash.
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“The whole room is full of money — it’s literally a pile. You’d need a rake,” according to one club insider who witnessed the eye-popping hardwood scene.
The vaunted 23-year-old point guard, who re-signed with the Grizzlies last year in a 5-year extension deal that could be worth up to $231 million, shelled out at least $50,000 in cash tips in the two-night booty bender, two employees told The Post.
“That took forever to count,” a dancer recalled her colleague saying.
The club insider said Morant arrived at Shotgun Willie’s with a friend and two security guards around 1:30am, just hours after the Grizzlies mauled the Rockets in Houston, 113-99.
Eighty minutes after the team’s plane touched down in Denver, the Memphis hotshot slinked in through the back of the club to enter the VIP room, where he sank at least $900 to book the space for three hours, per rates on the club’s website, sources said.
“He was there to party, he wanted some girls in the room,” the insider said. “The music was very, very gangster.”
At the club, the Grizzly turned horndog, paying for four dancers and bottle service, and wolfing down on a jersey-busting spread of food that appeared to include a basket of hickory-smoked wings, two platters of chicken strips and fries, and a steak, according to the insider and photos.
“That’s a little excessive, but usually excessiveness is happening all the time,” the insider quipped.
Two days later, Morant rebounded. After Memphis got trounced 113-97 in Denver, with Morant racking up 23 points, he made a fast break back to Shotgun Willie’s in the wee hours of Saturday, March 4.
This time he broadcast himself on Instagram Live as he dangled a gun and belted the lyrics to “Bring ‘Em Out” by the rapper YoungBoy Never Broke Again.
Deborah Dunafon the majority owner of Shotgun Willie’s, confirmed Morant was a repeat customer on March 2 and 4.
“This kid, real young, was exceptionally respectful, and sweet and he did not drink [on his second visit],” Dunafon, 72, said. “We’ve had [Denver] Nuggets and Broncos … come in and pitch quarters at the girls, be disrespectful and nasty. He’s marvellous.”
The gun, however, “absolutely terrified” Shotgun girls in the backroom, claimed one dancer who wasn’t in the VIP room but heard complaints from her co-workers.
“He pulled the white boy excuse card: ‘I’m just going through a lot right now, so I’m going to act [like] a fool and put other people’s lives at risk,’” she said.
Dunafon said that she and police reviewed the security footage from Morant’s now-infamous second night, and claimed “nobody saw a gun.”
And Glendale Police said they investigated Morant but determined that there was not enough evidence to charge the him with a crime.
Yet following the public firestorm over the gun livestream, Morant apologised to his team and public for his actions.
The Grizzlies announced hours after the social media debacle that Morant would miss two games, which was later extended to include an additional four games. The NBA is investigating Morant and could hit him with a lengthy suspension if it finds that he was carrying a firearm on team premises.
“Our investigation is ongoing,” said NBA spokesperson Mike Bass said Saturday.
The Instagram misfire is the latest in a string of troubling off-court antics to plague the two-time All-Star’s meteoric rise in the league.
Days before the gun incident, Morant was the subject of a Washington Post report on two violent incidents he was allegedly involved in last summer.
A 17-year-old filed a lawsuit against Morant after he and a friend allegedly pummeled the teen over a dozen times during a pick-up game last July before the hotshot went inside and returned with a gun visible in his waistband.
Morant told a detective that the teen had first chucked a ball at his head, so he was acting in self-defence.
“I swung first,” Morant told law enforcement, adding, “The ball was to me the first hit.”
Also in July, Morant was also accused of threatening the head of security at a Memphis mall.
Morant’s agent, Jim Tanner, told The Washington Post that the allegations were “unsubstantiated rumours and gossip.”
In February, the NBA investigated allegations by the Indiana Pacers that Morant’s crew “aggressively confronted” members of the team’s travelling party and aimed a red laser at them, which they believed could have been attached to a gun.
The league could not confirm any evidence that the Morant’s associates had threatened anyone with a weapon. Morant’s best friend, Davonte Pack, who was involved in the conflict, was banned from the Grizzlies’ FedExForum for the rest of the season.
Morant’s agent and lawyer did not respond to requests for comment. The Grizzlies did not respond to requests for comment.
This article originally appeared on the NY Post and was reproduced with permission.