Grizzlies’ Ja Morant admits to thinking about proximity of cameras to court in return from injury
Memphis Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant expressed concern at the proximity of cameras in NBA arenas, something that makes the game so intimate but so dangerous at the same time.
Morant returned Monday from back spasms that he suffered two weeks ago after a collision with a cameraman along the baseline, something he admitted has given some pause to his naturally aggressive game:
“It’s tough because I know I just have to do more controlled jumps now,” Morant told Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. “But at the same time, I’m just trying not to think about it and still try to play my game. It’s just a tough situation all the way around, honestly.”
Morant, who roughly only had six feet of space to land before his injury happened, tweeted his concern shortly after, which kept him sidelined for a week:
Yeah this is way too close to the actionpic.twitter.com/zPpSK6i4Nc
— Kev (@KV_Derrickson) December 1, 2019
“They probably can get a [good] video from the parking lot with those cameras, man,” added Morant. “I just think player safety should be first and foremost. How I play and where I end up, [cameramen] are right there. Personally, I like to attack the rack, and I feel like that injury came from me attacking the rack and it was just nowhere to land for me.”
Morant had a dunk against the Golden State Warriors that could have put him in the same position, but fortunately for the rookie, he landed just right after hanging on the rim:
— Off the Glass (@otgbasketball) December 10, 2019
Warriors coach Steve Kerr agreed with Morant’s concern for player safety:
“I worry about that, the proximity of the camera people and the vulnerability of sitting underneath the basket with a lot of contact over there, bodies falling, they’re holding a big camera,” he said. “It feels like a lot of things could go wrong. So, I do worry about that. I’m not sure what needs to happen, but I would think the league, especially if players are getting injured, would be considering their options.”
The concern goes both ways. Cameramen are often in no position to brace for 200-plus-pound men falling into them, especially when holding something as heavy as a professional super telephoto camera.
While it makes for excellent photography and classic snapshots of NBA history, technology has evolved in ways that could allow cameramen to still get these great baseline shots without being so close to the action, putting the players and themselves in potential danger.