“It’s been a long road—a journey,” Morris says as we chat over the phone. Under normal circumstances, this is a conversation that we would typically be having in person (perhaps after a game or practice), but this is 2020—a year that has been anything but ‘normal.’ This year has presented many challenges, but there have been some bright spots. One of those was seeing Morris elevate his game to the next level during an unprecedented NBA season that was spent in a bubble at the height of a global pandemic, as well as a national battle against racial and social injustice.
“They told us back in March that the season was being postponed. I didn’t think that it was going to be that long. At first, some weren’t open to going back and playing, and we voted and made a run for it. We said we were playing for Breonna Taylor, and the fight against racial injustice. We did it as a team and brotherhood, and it was one to remember. I enjoyed the season and enjoyed having a voice.”
The official last quarter of the 2020 NBA season was certainly one to remember for the guard who has blossomed into a key player on the Nuggets roster, but to understand how he got to where he is today, you have to rewind back to when he was just a young boy in Flint, Michigan with a basketball and a dream.
“Crazy thing was that it was just me and my mom,” he says, reflecting on his childhood and the loving relationship he has with his mother. “My mom coached varsity girls at the school I went to (Beecher High School). Basketball was all I knew.”
And it was something that he was very good at. Fueled by drive, Morris would stay up late into the night playing basketball in his room. While it drove his mother crazy (she would yell at him through the walls because she couldn’t sleep), it was clear Morris possessed something special—but he had to make sure that he stayed the course.
“In Flint, the violence was really high. I had to make sure I stayed on the right path. One wrong turn could mess you up—I was seeing stuff that I wasn’t supposed to see. At certain points Flint was ranked number one or two in crime. You know I would always tell my mom growing up that I was going to buy her a house and a car. She would laugh, but it was all I envisioned. I just stayed focused.”
It doesn’t take very long to see that Morris prides himself on being a role model and an inspiration to younger generations. He isn’t just here to play ball, he is also here to tell his story.