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Ja Morant, Nike & Hyperice: Partners in Performance

Backed by Nike and maintained by Hyperice, learn how the prodigious point guard is teaching the next generation the tricks of the trade when it comes to training and recovery.

Ja Morant ain’t no chump.

Less like Billy Hoyle and more like Charles Leclerc, the Memphis Grizzlies superstar is off to the races this season, averaging a ridiculous 29, 6, and 8 a night.

Blessed with a motor that can go from 0 to 60 in a split second, the 23-year-old talent still has to take care of his engine — and that means putting time and money into his health.

Justin Ford/Getty Images

“You see it like White Men Can’t Jump: people walk on the court, tap their shoes twice, and think they’re ready to play three hours of hoops,” David Carson, Nike Master Trainer, told Boardroom.

“You can’t start a Ferrari that way.”

An athlete-investor at Hyperice, Morant has teamed up with both his shoe sponsor and the revered recovery and wellness company for the “Train with Ja” digital content series to help fellow athletes boost their own performance for the long haul.

Living in the Nike Training Club App, players of all abilities with a smartphone can get an insider’s view into how the prodigious point guard excels on the court by taking care of his body off of it.

For Carson, an accomplished hooper of both the D1 and professional variety, working with Ja, Nike, and Hyperice has proved pinnacle in pushing his health expertise into high gear.

“Ja walks into the gym and in one step can kiss the rim,” Carson said. “He’s a Ferrari. I’ve done stuff with Giannis and Ja; these guys are Ferraris and you don’t see Ferraris every day. You have to be very careful about how you reverse engineer their training.”

Going under the hood with Carson and Hyperice, learn how Ja takes care of his body off the court and why it’s critical to his sustained success both in the game and at the bank.

Health is Wealth

Over the summer, Ja Morant signed a massive five-year, $192 million deal to stay and build with the Memphis Grizzlies.

If Ja makes an All-NBA team this season — something he’s certainly on pace to do given his early numbers — the value of his on-court contract will balloon to an impeccable $231 million. To take home all of that cold hard cash and fulfill his playing potential, he has to stay healthy.

That’s where Hyperice comes in, particularly its Normatec compression therapy offerings.

“I’ve been using the Normatec Legs as part of my routine for years, and I’ve seen a lot of benefits in my recovery time and athleticism as a result,” Morant said earlier this month in a company statement. “Now with the Normatec Go, I’ll be able to recover while on the team bus after a shootaround, at practice, or during a game, which will make sure I’m always at my best and ready to play.”

Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

As an athlete-investor, Morant isn’t just getting paid to talk about Hyperice; he’s benefiting from the bigger world the brand is building.

Since signing Naomi Osaka to a similar role, the recovery company is making leaps and bounds in both physical and mental health in a fashion that’s premium but becoming more and more accessible.

Catch Ja resting on the bench and he’s likely to have their Venom Back device keeping him warm between rotations. A quick visit to their website will showcase him using their Normatec Go sleeves just the same.

If this seems like good business for Ja, it is.

Playing over 33 minutes a night, recovery tools are imperative to his health when it comes to his day job. As the star of his team and toast of the culture, Morant’s healthy habits impact both the Grizzlies’ locker room and every kid watching him play.

“I always tell the GMs and agents that I talk to, ‘When you get a kid like that? He’s a program-changer,'” Carson said.

“I feel the same way about his partnership with Hyperice. I see it with my kids talking about wanting to get a Hypervolt and wanting to get into the boots just because they see Ja doing it. That’s how influential he is and he’s changing a whole generation in regard to strength, fitness, agility, and taking care of recovery. And he’s an open book about it, which is super dope.”

Whether the Nike Training Club app or Hyperice product, the tricks of the trade and tools to get there are available for public consumption.

Given basketball’s competitive nature and the old-school approach to sharing code, it’s notable that Ja has chosen to make his journey available in real-time for the world to see.

Photo via Hyperice

“To see this one with Ja come to life is crazy,” Carson said.

“I couldn’t imagine being a kid and Michael Jordan released his workout program, I would have been amped! That’s why doing this with Ja was perfect. He’s a guy who ascended late and got it out the mud, training in the backyard with his pops. He didn’t need all this fancy equipment and he’s a great example of that.”

As Carson explained, Ja’s come-up consisted of grit-and-grind ethos exemplified by toe taps on tires as administered by his father.

Now, with the Nike Training Club App, he understands the power of teaching players of all abilities how to improve their athleticism, leaning heavily into single-leg work for explosion and injury prevention.

You don’t need the Memphis Grizzlies practice facility to do it. You don’t even need tires.

“You can do this anywhere and that’s the special thing about this app,” Carson said. “You don’t need a lot of equipment. You might not think of Ja as a strong athlete, but pound for pound, he’s very strong. To see him really focus on strength and agility? I’m really proud of this program.”

While Ja keeps that same energy as an NBA All-Star, he’s now using a mix of scientific training and modern technology to keep him jumping high and landing softly.

Yes, the short-term goal is to win an NBA championship and make All-NBA once again to earn that true rookie max extension, but as Carson noted, the ultimate objective is to play for as long as possible.

“When you take care of these cars and engines, they take care of you back,” he said.

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Long Career, Long Money

When it comes to going viral or earning endorsements, the world is Ja Morant’s oyster.

At only 23 years of age, Ja boasts a max contract, 8.1 million Instagram followers, and a Nike signature shoe set to debut this spring. However, to amplify his career on the court and his portfolio post-retirement, the long game is engaging in both business deals and recovery work to keep him spry at age 33 and beyond.

“It’s insane,” Carson said. “Where we are now versus 10 years ago? That’s why we’re seeing freak athletes like Ja and longevity in careers.”

With Hyperice, Ja has the ability to take care of his health over the course of a grueling 82-game regular season that sees most nights spent in hotels and hours occupied on bus or plane. For years, tools and techniques regarding the health of the elite were reserved for team training facilities.

Thankfully, times have changed for all involved.

“This type of high-end recovery was only available in pro locker rooms,” Carson said.

“Now everyday athletes, high school athletes, and even Ja, when he’s traveling, have it. When we were playing AAU tournaments, we had three games in a day and were eating nachos. Imagine having a portable Normatec on the go — you can really get in tune with your recovery.”

These days for Ja, having the ability to start his recovery in the final minutes of a Grizzlies game rather than spend two hours in the cold tub makes him more mobile in every sense of the term.

“Hyperice products changed the game for me a lot,” Morant said in a company statement. “Having access to Hyperice equipment allows me to do what I love to do more, which is spend time with my family, score 50, and hit a game-winner.”

As an athlete-investor, it’s true that these are the things Ja is technically paid to say. Still, it doesn’t make them any less accurate.

“With Ja, being able to score 30 on Tuesday is super important,” Carson said. “But the Grizzlies need him to score 40 on Thursday, too, so how quickly can he recover and feel good? Athletes can start this on the bench at the end of the fourth quarter.”

Deeper than that, the dedication to good health and good business alike forms a standard of leadership that fits Ja well when it comes to being an influential voice on and off the court.

“It gives me chills to see the athlete taking accountability for everything in their life,” Carson said. “Ja has an amazing team around him that’s set on making smart moves. Partnering with Hyperice, he’s not just the face — he’s invested in it. You see the same thing with KD and Boardroom.”

Influencing his NBA peers and EYBL athletes that adore him, Ja Morant is making money off his athleticism by investing the time and tools to take care of it. It’s not lost on him, and it’s not lost on those that work close to him.

“Ja has the culture,” Carson said. “Every kid loves Ja. When this [Hyperice x Nike partnership] went live with Ja, all my athletes were going crazy because they look up to him in all types of ways. One is recovery, two is him taking advice, and the last is how he is with his teammates. He has them operating like a college atmosphere and it’s easy for me to coach when they look up to a guy like that.”

“These athletes are Fortune 500 companies, and they’re taking care of themselves in a way that’s so empowering to see.”

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About The Author
Ian Stonebrook
Ian Stonebrook
Ian Stonebrook is a Staff Writer covering culture, sports, and fashion for Boardroom. Prior to signing on, Ian spent a decade at Nice Kicks as a writer and editor. Over the course of his career, he's been published by the likes of Complex, Jordan Brand, GOAT, Cali BBQ Media, SoleSavy, and 19Nine. Ian spends all his free time hooping and he's heard on multiple occasions that Drake and Nas have read his work, so that's pretty tight.