Ja Morant, of the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies, sat down for his first interview to address his brandishing of a gun on Instagram Live earlier this month. According to ESPN, his actions have resulted in the latest consequence of an eight-game suspension from the NBA.
RELATED: Coca-Cola Pulls Ja Morant Powerade Advertisements After He Brandished Gun On Instagram Live
Ja Morant’s Interview With ESPN
Ja Morant sat down with ESPN’s Jalen Rose for an interview that aired on Wednesday. Morant explained that he needs to be “smarter” moving forward. Additionally, Morant explained that because of the gun-brandishing incident, he now realizes what things he has a “stake.”
“I feel like in the past we didn’t know what was at stake. And now finally me having that time to realize everything, have that time alone, I realize that now…
I realize what I have to lose, and for us as a group, what we have to lose. It’s pretty much just that being more responsible, more smarter and staying away from all the bad decisions.”
Morant also addressed the gun-brandishing incident directly. He explained that the weapon he was seen holding on Instagram Live did not belong to him. In addition, Morant explained that he takes “full responsibility” for his actions, while also acknowledging that he made a “bad mistake.”
“It’s not who I am. I don’t condone it or any type of violence, but I take full responsibility from my actions. I made a bad mistake. I can see the image that I painted over myself with my recent mistakes. But in the future, I’m going to show everybody who Ja really is, what I’m about and change this narrative that everybody got.”
Furthermore, Morant explained that he live-streamed in a Colorado strip club on March 4 because he “pretty much” was “trying to be free.”
“I used that as an escape, which I shouldn’t have. I feel like that’s the reason I made many bad decisions in my past, which doesn’t pretty much describe me, doesn’t describe Ja as a person. I’m a totally different person than what’s been shown in the media. That’s my job now. That’s why I took that time away, to become a better Ja, so everybody really can see who Ja really is and you know what he’s about.”
Ja Morant’s 8-Game Suspension From The NBA
According to ESPN, Morant’s interview with Jalen Rose was conducted hours after the 23-year-old met with the NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. Silver denounced Morant’s actions as “irresponsible, reckless and potentially very dangerous.”
Silver’s comments also came with placing Morant on an eight-game, no-pay suspension from the NBA.
The NBA is suspending Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant for eight games without pay for conduct detrimental to the league, sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 15, 2023
Morant reflected on the decision, and his meeting with Silver, during the interview
“It was good — pretty much an open discussion. Obviously, he said things I need to be better at, but more of just showing his support towards me. I accepted that, and I also sent my apologies to everybody — to the league, myself, my teammates, my family for putting that negativity towards all of us with a bad decision.”
The Aftermath Of Ja Morant’s Gun-Brandishing Instagram Live
As The Shade Room previously reported, Morant recently entered a counseling program in Florida to address and rectify his recent behavior.
The 23-year-old explained that he feels mentally good since doing so.
“I feel mentally good — like I haven’t been in many years since I really got dropped into the league. I’m in a space where I’m very comfortable. I took those days to be able to learn how to pretty much be there for myself and learn different ways to manage stress in a positive way.”
However, not all of the aftermath of Morant’s actions have been positive. As The Shade Room previously reported, Coca-Cola pulled a $10 million Powerade advertisement starring Morant. Furthermore, he was even investigated by the Glendale Police Department for his actions, although they ultimately decided not to pursue criminal charges, per The Shade Room.
For now, Morant is looking forward to returning to the court.
“I also put my team in a tough position with me not being able to be out there on the floor for decisions I’ve made. I regret all that. I can’t wait to be back out there on the floor now, knowing what my punishment is. I accept that, and I feel like I deserve that punishment for my mistakes and what I did. But when I get back out there, I’m going to be ready to go and ready to push for a ring.”
As The Shade Room previously reported, Morant brandished a gun while live streaming from a Colorado strip club on Saturday, March 4.
Ja Morant showing off his gun on Instagram live today.
— Savage (@SavageSports_) March 4, 2023