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Memphis Zoo names baby giraffe ‘Ja Raffe’ in honor of Grizzlies’ Ja Morant

Reigning NBA Rookie of the Year Ja Morant has received quite the honor, one that shows the budding Grizzlies star has been warmly welcomed by a Memphis community that is clearly wild about him.

Presumably proud giraffe parents Niklas and Angela Kate welcomed a newborn calf on Nov. 10 at the Memphis Zoo. On Thursday, the zoo announced that the newborn giraffe will be named “Ja Raffe” in honor of Morant.

The Grizzlies star took to social media to welcome Ja Raffe to the world and react to the big news of the honor that was originally shared by the Memphis Zoo’s official Twitter account.

The Grizzlies celebrated Ja Raffe’s arrival as well.

Ja Raffe’s birth is part of the Memphis Zoo’s Species Survival Plan, which aims to “manage the breeding of a species to maintain a healthy and self-sustaining population that is both genetically diverse and demographically stable,” according to the zoo’s blog.

Ja Raffe now makes it seven giraffes at the Memphis Zoo, including 18-month-old sister Ally.

Morant, meanwhile, will look to build upon a fantastic first season during which he averaged 17.8 points and 7.3 assists across 67 starts after being selected No. 2 overall in the 2019 NBA Draft.