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11 Jan, 2022 01:24

NBA star stuns fans with supreme athletic rescue act (VIDEO)

The former Rookie of the Year is being hyped as the next big talent after a block against LeBron James' LA Lakers which has been hailed as one of the greatest feats of athleticism ever seen in elite basketball
NBA star stuns fans with supreme athletic rescue act (VIDEO)

Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant has astonished basketball fans with a sensational two-hand block that went viral and earned the praise of fellow players, fans and pundits alike.

The 22-year-old pulled off the amazing feat early in an eventual 127-119 win over LeBron James' LA Lakers.

Around halfway through the first quarter, with his team trailing 12-9, Avery Bradley deflected a pass from Morant which set the hosts off on a fast-break to the other end.

Attempting to clean up his error, however, the guard, who is in his third season, leapt and snatched Bradley's lay-up with both hands while the ball was still in orbit.

"I just got back and made an incredible play," Morant explained after. "I was just trying to gather the ball."

"Most of the time on a break like that, if you block it, they might have a player trailing to get the ball and lay it up. It worked out perfect for me.

"Now I'm probably all over the internet for it," he predicted, and he was proven right.

As his franchise's social media account claimed that he was a "glitch" on the popular NBA 2K video game, one clip went viral and was swiftly seen more than two million times.

One reporter said that Morant had "some of the most insane bounce I've ever seen", and another punter quipped that he was "over here looking like he's got those cables attached to his back on some Peter Pan sh*t".

Comparisons were drawn to a similar block Michael Jordan executed 20 years ago, and some have tipped him to stand among the same company as the Chicago Bulls great and James, or even surpass them one day.

While not probed on such a possibility, James, on the other side of the ball, paid his dues. 

"Obviously, it starts with timing and also just stalking your prey," said the author of what ESPN called "the most significant chase-down block in league history" during the closing minutes of the 2016 NBA Finals' Game 7.

"And that's exactly what Ja was doing that whole play, and I saw it happening," James continued.

"Didn't know he was going to do it in that fashion, but he got rockets in his calf muscles and it was a spectacular play. It was a great play. Salute."

James' coach, Frank Vogel, branded the block a "special play from a special player". "I don't know what else there really is to say about it," he offered.

One of Morant's teammates, Jaren Jackson Jr, said it was "probably the best block I've ever seen live" and "probably the best block I've ever seen, period". "That was crazy," he beamed.

Later in the same tie, Morant smashed an impressive dunk that saw the Grizzlies make calls for him to go the All Star Game next month.

After it, Morant seemed to get in an exchange with someone courtside, and then mouth "b*tch as* boy" to himself.

Despite his side now being on a nine-game win streak, Morant remarked that he felt the players "haven’t reached our ceiling yet".