Former basketball player Jamie Morant inspires his son, Memphis Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant, to be all he can be. And he’s a billionaire.
Jamie Morant came in for Ja Morant when her husband Tee Morant was too hard on him during their first backyard training sessions, and she’s always looking out for her son’s well-being.
The Gen X mother-of-two serves as an informal social media advisor to her child GenZ, who is second only to Stephen Curry in fan engagement on NBA online platforms.
Jamie Morant earned his bachelor’s degree in biology
Jamie Smalley was part of the class of 1994 at Harlem High School. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Claflin College in 1999, but it’s unclear how she uses this impressive qualification.
She is a dual threat in sports, with an aptitude for softball and basketball, a natural athleticism she passed on to her offspring.
The year she graduated from college, she and her husband, Tee Morant, had their first child, Ja, who grew up to be a 6-foot-3 NBA superstar. Tee gave up his NBA dream when his son was born and gave him the guidance and training to surpass him.
The Morants had their daughter, Teniya “Niya” Morant, a few years later. Niya also hopes to become a professional basketball player.
Jamie’s mother, Linda Gail Smalley, affectionately known as Mama Lin, has a strong presence in his life. She thanked her mother in July 2016 for her “spiritual guidance and unconditional love”.
Mama Lin’s prayers and encouragement had a lasting impact on her grandson Ja who said he always turned to his grandmother when he felt like ‘the devil was trying to attack him’ . She advised Jamie to pray for Ja and provided scriptures during the difficult start of her career.
Jamie Morant knew his son’s future when he was in his womb
While in the NBA Bubble in Orlando, Florida, Ja Morant made his mother happy in Sumter, South Carolina in the form of a white Audi A8 L with a tan leather interior. He shared the clip of Jamie’s first reaction to the gift, capped with the text, “I love you, my queen.”
But then, she always knew her son would be amazing. Months earlier, Tee had said in a profile about their son’s upbringing:
“My wife will tell you that she knew Ja was going to be awesome when he was in her womb. She really said that. I guess it’s this woman’s hunch. But, at the same time, you’re guessing her now ?”
Unfortunately, with the incredible perks of having a son in the NBA come some nasty things. During a game in May 2021, Jamie was sexually harassed by a supporter of the opposing team, the Utah Jazz. Tee confronted the guy, who was quickly kicked out and banned from the stadium.
At the end of the season, the Jame and Ja began a mantra, “Be a billionaire at 30”.
During the same game, the pair were subjected to racial slurs from two other Utah Jazz fans, who also received the boot. Ja said in a tweet after the game that his parents had “fallen in love” with other jazz fans who they could playfully talk to.
Jamie shares helpful social media tips for his son
According to the NBA, the GenZ athlete’s digital highlights have over 351 million views across all platforms, second only to Stephen Curry, who peaked at 485 million views.
The young Grizzlies player credits his mother, Jamie, for keeping him in line on social media, even though at times Jamie gave his son “the green light” to react to her trolls.
Ja admits that sometimes he would hit back at his online critics without consulting his mother first, only for her to say, “No, delete it.” At the end of the season, the Jame and Ja started saying a mantra: “Be a billionaire in 30 years”.
As the first GenZ athlete to sign a multi-million dollar contract with Nike, that doesn’t seem like an impossible goal for a 23-year-old. The only other NBA players to achieve billionaire status so far are Michael Jordan and LeBron James.