Ja Morant’s 'Promiseland' Docuseries Chronicles His Rise to Stardom

The Memphis Grizzlies star on his newest film project, how the BLM movement affected him and more.

Sports
5,610 Hypes 2 Comments

If anyone understands what it feels like to be overlooked, it’s Ja Morant. Though he’s now an NBA household name, he wasn’t always considered an elite-level hooper by any stretch of the imagination. It’s this journey, and his rise to stardom with the Memphis Grizzlies, that’s the subject of an impending docuseries titled Promiseland, which comes out on Crackle June 3 in North America and Europe.

“It’s going to show everyone where I’m from, what I’ve been through in terms of being a small town kid to being a first round pick to playing in the bubble and more.”.

As its title suggests, Promiseand is a coming of age tale that allows viewers to take a deeper dive into the 2019-2020 Rookie of the Year’s life prior to his professional career as well as his first season in the league. It was created and directed by Dexton Deboree — the founder of creative agency Falkon and the director of the award-winning feature film Unbanned: The Legend of AJ1. He is also the director of Will Smith‘s Best Shape of my Life documentary. “This series is going to allow me to tell my story”, Morant told HYPEBEAST. “It’s going to show everyone where I’m from, what I’ve been through in terms of being a small town kid to being a first round pick to playing in the bubble and more.”.

Like many other All-Star point guards in the league such as three-point marksmen Stephen Curry and Damian Lillard, the Sumter native came out of high school as an unranked prospect, forcing him to generate his own noise by playing for a lesser-known basketball program at Murray State. Growing up, he was mostly trained by his father Tee Morant — a former high school teammate of NBA Hall of Famer Ray Allen.Tee taught Morant the fundamentals of the game, and instilled in him a dog-eat-dog mentality: in episode one of the series, Morant reflects on memories of developing his skills with his father, mentioning “My dad was a hard trainer. He’s going to push you to your limits. He’s not gonna let you quit and the workout isn’t done until he says it’s done.”

Morant wasn’t scouted out at the EYBLNike’s top tier high school basketball circuit — or discovered through a viral YouTube mixtape. He was found by James Kane, Murray State’s assistant coach, who was instantly impressed by the guard’s skills and athleticism when he stumbled upon him playing 3-on-3 in an auxiliary gym in South Carolina. During his collegiate career, the 6’3 point guard went completely berserk on the hardwood, as he racked up averages of 24.5 points and 10 assists a night. “I felt like there were less distractions going to a small school,” he stated. “It allowed me to stay more locked in, and given that I had the right people around me in terms of coaches and fans, it was easy for me to be myself and be the best version of me on and off the floor.”

“For me being a young black man, you just hate to see everything that’s happened. It’s tough knowing that you have to be extra cautious when you step out outside nowadays, and having a daughter and a family that cares about each other just makes you hope that we’re all going to be safe and make it home at the end of the day.”

Morant’s first year in the league was unorthodox in every sense. It was smooth sailing to start off, as he was selected second overall in the 2019-2020 draft. However, he became a father just a couple of months before the regular season commenced, and a tumultuous series of events including the COVID-19 pandemic and the uproar of social injustice issues greatly affected his well-being. When speaking on the Black Lives Matter movement, he said, “For me being a young black man, you just hate to see everything that’s happened. It’s tough knowing that you have to be extra cautious when you step out outside nowadays, and having a daughter and a family that cares about each other just makes you hope that we’re all going to be safe and make it home at the end of the day.”

As much as this film shows all of the grit and grind that it took to make it into the league, it’s also an opportunity for fans to get a grasp of Morant’s character. “Ja symbolizes so many powerful things”, director Dexton Deboree tells HYPEBEAST. “What I knew going in was that he was a special young man, the ultimate underdog, overlooked, dismissed even by some and yet beyond all reason, proof, and reality he persevered. What I didn’t know was the real depth of his character – he’s so humble, selfless, compassionate, wise, honest, and giving and yet a total beast on the court. That combo of otherworldly talent, style, and swagger and yet humility and compassion really punched me in the gut.”

Given Morant’s tenacity and fearlessness on the court, there’s high hopes that he’ll one day become an MVP caliber player. Around him, he’s got a young and scrappy nucleus of teammates in Kyle Anderson, Jonas Valančiūnas, Dillon Brooks and more, and there’s no question that the Memphis Grizzlies are going to try and utilize Morant as a cornerstone for their franchise moving forward.

Currently, the bouncy point guard and his squad have themselves sitting at the ninth spot in the Western Conference, and will likely have to battle it out in the NBA’s new play-in system to clinch a berth in the postseason. However, if there’s anything that Promiseland confirms, it’s the fact that Morant is more than capable to take on that challenge.

Read Full Article

What to Read Next

Ja Morant Wins NBA Rookie of the Year
Sports

Ja Morant Wins NBA Rookie of the Year

Earning 99 out of 100 first-place votes.

Ethereum Rises to Record High as Crypto Prices Continue To Surge
Tech 

Ethereum Rises to Record High as Crypto Prices Continue To Surge

Cryptocurrencies continue to make huge gains.

The Rise and Fall of Eddie Plein, New York’s Forgotten King of Grills
Fashion 

The Rise and Fall of Eddie Plein, New York’s Forgotten King of Grills

A new book charts a golden age of hip-hop, and a culture-defining jewellery empire.


Eminem to Drop His First NFT Collection
Art

Eminem to Drop His First NFT Collection

Based on novelties Eminem collected as a kid along with instrumental beats.

88rising and YEENJOY STUDIO Join Forces for "Double Dragon" Incense Chamber
Design

88rising and YEENJOY STUDIO Join Forces for "Double Dragon" Incense Chamber

Made of porcelain, limited to 300 pieces and accompanied by a special T-shirt.

Tesla Stocks Dip As Sales in China Slow
Tech 

Tesla Stocks Dip As Sales in China Slow

Tesla shares dropped as much as 4.4 percent before leveling off by midday.

size? Partners With Russell Athletic for an Exclusive Fleece Collection
Fashion

size? Partners With Russell Athletic for an Exclusive Fleece Collection

The capsule features cozy and versatile hoodies, sweatpants, tees and more.

Here's a Closer Look at the Nike Dunk Low "Lemon Drop"
Footwear

Here's a Closer Look at the Nike Dunk Low "Lemon Drop"

A colorway that’s equally sour and summer-y for the ladies.

Josh Callaghan and Chaz Guest Seek the "Promised Land" in Duo Exhibition
Art

Josh Callaghan and Chaz Guest Seek the "Promised Land" in Duo Exhibition

Works that highlight fantasies and tragedies of the American consciousness.


Check Out the 2021 USA Skateboarding National Championships
Sports

Check Out the 2021 USA Skateboarding National Championships

Held at The Berrics’ headquarters in Los Angeles and presented by Toyota.

Take a Look Inside the New Olympic Museum in Athens
Art

Take a Look Inside the New Olympic Museum in Athens

Filled with sports memorabilia from countries all across the globe.

Nike Introduces Its Newest Flyleather Footwear Collection for Summer '21
Footwear

Nike Introduces Its Newest Flyleather Footwear Collection for Summer '21

The Swoosh enlists Tokyo-based artist Mayumi Yamase to decorate the Air Force 1 Low and Blazer Low.

The "Ugly Duckling" Vibes Are Heavy on This New Olive, Gold and Brown Dunk Low
Footwear

The "Ugly Duckling" Vibes Are Heavy on This New Olive, Gold and Brown Dunk Low

A style that wouldn’t look out of place alongside the “Ceramic,” “Veneer” and “Plum.”

Palace Links With Cult London Skate Store For Celebratory Capsule
Fashion

Palace Links With Cult London Skate Store For Celebratory Capsule

Set to launch later this week.


More ▾
 
Subscribe to our Newsletter

Gain access to exclusive interviews with industry creatives, think pieces, trend forecasts, guides and more.

By subscribing, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Adblock Detected.

We charge advertisers instead of our readers. If you enjoy our content, please add us to your adblocker's whitelist. We'd really appreciated it.