Ja "Headband 12" Morant led the Grizzlies to victory over the Portland Trailblazers just before the 2020 All-Star Break. (Photo: Lee Eric Smith)

Every great player has their “thing.” In Memphis, it was Mike Conley’s “three-finger” salute after a 3-point bomb or Tony Allen yelling “FIRST TEAM ALL DEFENSE!” after “turning off the water” on some poor opponent.

Terry Davis

Well, Ja Morant may just have two. In the Portland game, he donned a headband and asked to be introduced as “Ja ‘Headband 12’ Moraaaaant!” After the game, he said had been contemplating all season if he should wear the headband.

During shootaround and before the game against Portland, Jaren Jackson Jr. urged Morant to wear it, as did his other teammates. Over the summer he had on a headband in a picture and kept saying headband 12.  He just kept repeating it.

Morant approached the public address announcer and told him how he would like to be introduced and he obliged.  Morant was not pleased with how he played, but said the headband is 1-0 and laughed.

During the Portland game, he broke out “the goggles” – which he said are supposed to binoculars to indicate his extraordinary court vision, by the way – on four of five consecutive gestures during the game – that stretch where the Grizzlies scored on lob after lob after lob. Morant had some help from the sidelines.

“I had a little guy on the sidelines got me started with it,” Morant chuckled after the game. “I threw my first assist. I saw him almost on the court doing the goggle thing and I did it back to him. Every assist I had he said JA and I did it back to him.”

Everyone has seemed to be getting into the goggles. None other than “The Grindfather” Tony Allen was seen doing the goggle gesture during the game to Morant.

Expect Morant to break out the goggles tonight in the Rising Stars game in which he and Jaren Jackson Jr. (Team USA) will take on Brandon Clarke (Team World). Tipoff is at