Rapper Gunna sits courtside at Heat-Celtics game, first public appearance since jail release

Gunna attends the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute benefit gala
Atlanta rapper Gunna, shown in May at a fashion exhibition in New York, made his first public appearance at the Eastern Conference finals after being released from jail in December.
(Evan Agostini / Invision/Associated Press)
Share via

Atlanta Rapper Gunna was on hand Saturday in Miami as the Celtics battled the Heat in Game 6 of the NBA’s Eastern Conference finals — his first public appearance since negotiating a guilty plea to a racketeering conspiracy charge involving the Young Slime Life gang.

The musician and style icon, who was released from jail five months ago, donned pink-and-black floral pants and a black, sleeveless graphic T-shirt as he sat courtside with Atlanta rapper Nechie during the game.

The 29-year-old Gunna, whose real name is Sergio Kitchens, was indicted with fellow rapper Young Thug and more than two dozen other people in May 2022 on felony charges of participating in gang activity and violating Georgia’s criminal racketeering law.


After a plea deal, he was sentenced to five years in prison with four years suspended, according to WSB-TV Channel 2 in Atlanta. The one-year sentence was then commuted to time served, with special conditions that included 500 hours of community service.

Gunna entered what’s known as an Alford plea, which allows a person to plead guilty — while still maintaining innocence — if it’s believed the prosecution’s evidence would likely result in a guilty verdict at trial.

Gunna, the rapper who was arrested in Atlanta in May as part of a RICO case against the Young Slime Life gang, was released from jail Wednesday.

Dec. 14, 2022

Since his sentencing, some of Gunna’s rap contemporaries have speculated that he may have exchanged information with prosecutors to the disadvantage of Thug, his label-mate, and 26 members of YSL, who have been in jail since their arrest last May. Thug, founder of Young Stoner Life Records, is still awaiting trial, for which jury selection began in January.

Lil Durk, a close friend of Thug’s, told DJ Academiks on the “Off the Record Podcast last week that he believes “that man told.”

“You should have went in there and kept your mouth closed,” Durk said, addressing Gunna. “If you a rat, you a rat.”

Gunna has denied the allegations.

“While I have agreed to always be truthful, I want to make it perfectly clear that I have NOT made any statements, have NOT been interviewed, have NOT cooperated, have NOT agreed to testify or be a witness for or against any party in the case and have absolutely NO intention of being involved in the trial process in any way,” the rapper said in a statement obtained by The Times after his plea deal was announced.

Fans, however, are excited for what Gunna’s appearance at the basketball game may mean for the “Pushin P” rapper and whether he could be dropping new music soon.


He teased a return in early May with a vague “I’m OTW,” punctuated with his signature blue P emoji on an Instagram Reel featuring a snippet of an unreleased song.

Times staff writer Christie D’Zurilla contributed to this report.