March 11, 2023 | 12:47
He was losing more than money.
Memphis Grizzlies All-Star point guard Ja Morant dribbled and slobbered on a stripper in the same Denver-area jiggle joint where he blew $50,000 in tips — and flashed a gun on fire 48 hours later – shocking photos obtained by The Post and insiders reveal.
New snaps from March 2 show the bad-boy baller at the raunchy Shotgun Willie’s in Glendale, CO, pierced by the back panel of a brunette in a thong straddling his knees inside the VIP room — and nearly every inch of surface covered in cash .
“The whole room is full of money — it’s literally a stack. You would need a rake,” according to a club insider who witnessed the jaw-dropping hardwood scene.
The vaunted 23-year-old point guard, who re-signed with the Grizzlies last year in a 5-year extension deal worth up to $231 million, has forked out at least $50,000 in cash tips in the spoils of two nights. , two employees told the Post.
“It took forever to count,” recalled a dancer of her colleague.
The club insider said Morant arrived at Shotgun Willie’s with a friend and two security guards around 1:30 a.m., just hours after the Grizzlies mauled the Rockets in Houston, 113-99.
Eighty minutes after the team plane landed in Denver, the Memphis hotshot snuck in through the back of the club to enter the VIP room, where he sunk at least $900 to reserve the space for three hours, according to rates on the club’s website , sources said.
“He was there to party, he wanted girls in the room,” the insider said. “The music was very, very gangster.”
At the club, the Grizzly transformed into a hunting dog, paying for four dancers and bottle service, and gobbling up an assortment of shirt-busting food that appeared to include a basket of hickory-smoked wings, two platters of strips of chicken and fries, and a steak, according to the insider and photos.
“That’s a little overkill, but usually overkill happens all the time,” the insider joked.
Two days later, Morant rebounded. After Memphis was beaten 113-97 in Denver, with Morant amassing 23 points, he took a quick break at Shotgun Willie’s in the wee hours of Saturday, March 4.
This time, he streamed on Instagram Live as he brandished a gun and sang the lyrics to rapper YoungBoy’s “Bring ‘Em Out” Never Broke Again.
Deborah Dunafon, majority owner of Shotgun Willie’s, confirmed Morant was a regular customer on March 2-4.
“This kid, very young, was exceptionally respectful, and sweet and he didn’t drink. [on his second visit]said Dunafon, 72. “We have had [Denver] Nuggets and Broncos… come in and offer quarters to the girls, be disrespectful and mean. He is wonderful.
The weapon, however, “absolutely terrified” the Shotgun girls in the back room, said a dancer who was not in the VIP room but heard complaints from colleagues.
“He pulled out the white boy’s excuse card: ‘I’m just going through a lot right now, so I’m going to take action. [like] a fool and put other people’s lives in danger,” she said.
Dunafon said she and police viewed security footage from Morant’s now infamous second night and claimed “no one saw a gun”.
And Glendale police said they investigated Morant but determined there was not enough evidence to charge him with a crime.
Still, after the public firestorm over the gun live stream, Morant apologized to his team and the public for his actions.
The Grizzlies announced hours after the social media debacle that Morant would miss two games, which were later extended to include four more games. The NBA is investigating Morant and could hit him with a lengthy suspension if it finds he was carrying a gun on team premises.
“Our investigation is ongoing,” NBA spokesman Mike Bass said Saturday.
The Instagram misfire is the latest in a series of disturbing off-court antics to plague the meteoric rise of the two-time All-Star in the league.
Days before the gun incident, Morant was the subject of a Washington Post report about two violent incidents he was allegedly involved in last summer.
A 17-year-old has taken legal action against Morant after he and a friend allegedly punched the teenager more than a dozen times during a pick-up game last July before the hotshot entered the inside and comes back with a visible weapon in his belt.
Morant told a detective that the teenager first threw a bullet at him in the head, so he was acting in self-defense.
“I swung first,” Morant told law enforcement, adding, “The ball was the first shot for me.”
Also in July, Morant was also charged with threatening the head of security at a Memphis mall.
Morant’s agent, Jim Tanner, told the Washington Post that the allegations were “rumors and unsubstantiated gossip.”
In February, the NBA investigated Indiana Pacers’ allegations that Morant’s crew “aggressively confronted” members of the team’s travel party and aimed a red laser at them, which they say could have been attached to a gun.
The league could not confirm any evidence that Morant’s associates had threatened anyone with a weapon. Morant’s best friend, Davonte Pack, who was involved in the dispute, was banned from the Grizzlies’ FedExForum for the remainder of the season.
Morant’s agent and attorney did not respond to requests for comment. The Grizzlies did not respond to requests for comment.