Ja Morant, the Memphis Grizzlies guard is not just inspiring his human fanbase, but also in the animal kingdom, as Tennessee’s Memphis Zoo has decided to name a recently born baby giraffe after the NBA star- Ja Raffe!
Memphis Zoo celebrates Ja Morant’s ‘Rookie of the Year’ award in a special way
Ja Morant, Grizzlies’ 2019 draft pick enjoyed a stellar 2019-20 season, averaging 17.8 points and 3.9 rebounds per game in 67 appearances last season, landing the youngster 2020 NBA Rookie of the Year award, which also made Morant the first Grizzlies player to clinch the award since Pau Gasol in the 2001-02 season.
To commemorate their award-winning rookie, Memphis Zoo decided to name another rookie in the animal kingdom after Morant. The zoo recently welcomed a baby giraffe boy on 10th November to parents Niklas and Angela Kate and gave him the name ‘Ja Raffe’, paying homage to Morant as well as is a wordplay on the word giraffe.
“We have some new hooves on the African Veldt. His name is Ja Raffe to celebrate @memgrizz’s @JaMorant winning @NBA Rookie of the year,” the zoo tweeted yesterday.
We have some new hooves on the African Veldt. His name is Ja Raffe to celebrate @memgrizz’s @JaMorant winning @NBA Rookie of the year. Read more in our latest ZooNews Blog. #memphiszoo #GrindCity #giraffe @zoos_aquariums #babyanimal pic.twitter.com/nwPK8olK9x
— Memphis Zoo (@MemphisZoo) November 19, 2020
Morant himself followed up with a retweet: “welcome to the world 🙌🏽 “ja”raffe 🦒”
welcome to the world 🙌🏽 “ja”raffe 🦒 https://t.co/Zw0Js8CguJ
— Ja Morant (@JaMorant) November 19, 2020
The club itself joined in to celebrate the naming as well, as their Twitter handle shared an image of the calf with the Grizzlies jersey photoshopped on.
— Memphis Grizzlies (@memgrizz) November 19, 2020
“Memphis Zoo is thrilled to announce a new addition to its reticulated giraffe herd and his name is a nod to one of Memphis’ beloved athletes,” a blog read on the official website of the zoo, which now houses seven giraffes in its enclosure.
“This birth is also exciting because it will be the first time the calf’s sister, 18- month-old Ally will be meeting a new baby. If you see the calf on exhibit, he will most likely be resting or you will see him coming and going from the barn,” the blog added.
Memphis Zoo also stated that Ja Raffe’s birth is part of a “Species Survival Plan”, which essentially means breeding of a species to preserve a healthy, self-sustaining, genetically diverse, and demographically stable population.