Few NBA players over the last decade have come into the league more hyped up than Ja Morant. The Murray State star has completely turned the Grizzlies around and helped them go from bottom feeder to strong playoff contender in an extremely short amount of time.
However, unlike other big name players, he didn’t start out that way. Morant’s story is unique because he came from rather humble beginnings. It is those beginnings, as well as the journey that came after them, that I will explore throughout this guide.
His Home Town
Ja Morant is from the small town of Dalzell, South Carolina. It’s a tiny place, with a total area of 6.9 square miles and a population of 2,260 people. It rests in the middle part of the state, and is not somewhere you’d be able to easily find on a map.
Even so, the rather out of the way town is home to two NBA players. There’s Morant (obviously), and superstar three shooter Ray Allen is also from the town. That’s quite a coincidence, considering just how low the odds are for two different NBA players to be from the same place.
As the town is so small, Morant’s father, who also played college basketball, actually played on Allen’s high school team. He was even good enough to play overseas but ultimately decided to give up on that path when his wife got pregnant with Ja.
Ja was born to Tee and Jamie Morant in Dalzell on August 10th, 1999. He stayed there after being born, and his parents raised him in the town. When he was a kid he first trained in the backyard with his dad, who taught him how to shoot step-back jump shots from a young age.
He also learned how to jump in that same yard. His dad would set up tires around the area, which Morant would leap up onto time and time again to get more height on his vertical. That paid off, allowing him to break out once he reached high school and start a strong career.
Backyard to Schoolyard
While he is originally from Dalzell, he actually played basketball in Sumter, South Carolina at Crestwood High School. There, as expected, he excelled.
While he came into high school as just 5 foot 9, he grew to over 6 feet tall in his first three years. He led the team in scoring, setting the school record with 1,679 points. He even managed to score 47 points in a single game, despite not being able to dunk until his senior year.
Unfortunately, as Morant is from such a small town, he didn’t get a ton of fanfar while in high school. While he was a solid player, and he earned all state honors throughout his tenure, he did not get a lot of big college offers.
A Different Path
Getting snubbed based on location happens every now and then, and it was an issue for Morant coming out of high school. In fact, the only top school to give him any interest was USC. That’s why he landed at Murray State rather than going to a much bigger program.
Even so, as we all know now, he thrived in that system and rose to national notoriety. He’s one of the most exciting players in the NBA and will only improve with time.
Read More: What’s Ja Morant’s Net Worth
Ja Morant is not someone who came from amazing beginnings. While his dad and mom both had basketball experience, neither of them were superstars. They worked normal jobs and lived in a small, rather normal town.
However, his talent prevailed. He is one of the best players in the league right now, and his journey to the top is a perfect example of how where you end up matters much more than where you start.