Ja Morant’s influence may extend beyond basketball.

Despite not knowing Ja Morant, Mary Wainwright is concerned about him, prays for him, and wishes she could speak with the troubled young NBA star to "set him straight.

Grandma Wainwright, 64, is a pillar of the Smokey City neighborhood in north Memphis, which has been regularly targeted by gunshots.

It is only a short distance from FedExForum, where Morant has flourished as a point guard for the Grizzlies over the course of four remarkable NBA seasons.

Morant went to the top of the NBA rankings throughout that time, with minimal turbulence – until recently, that is.

Morant, 23, has been suspended for his troubling off-court behavior, which peaked two weeks ago with the revelation of a video

on social media showing him wielding what appeared to be a weapon in a Colorado strip club. His squad was vying for a playoff position at the time.

When is he coming back? The Grizzlies said he may return to the floor on Friday against the San Antonio Spurs

but NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, who is justifiably protective of his league's reputation, may have other plans.

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