Grizzlies Ja Morant: ‘My job now is... to be more responsible’
While his coach said he anticipates Ja Morant will return to the court Wednesday for the Grizzlies, Morant downplayed expectations and said things are “still in the air.”
Whether the official return is Wednesday or a few days later, Morant is back practicing with teammates and spoke to the media for the first time since his suspension. He once again was apologetic.
“I’m completely sorry for that,” Morant said, via the Associated Press. “So, you know, my job now is, like I said, to be more responsible, more smarter, and don’t cause any of that no more.”
Morant was suspended eight games by the NBA after flashing a gun in a club and broadcasting it on social media, something NBA Commissioner Adam Silver called “irresponsible” and “reckless.” Morant used that time to go into counseling at a facility in Florida but added he “never had an alcohol problem.”.
“I went there to counseling to learn how to manage stress,” Morant said. “Cope with stress in a positive way, instead of ways I’ve tried to deal with it before that caused me to make mistakes.”
Morant said that his treatment is an “ongoing process,” adding that he was getting off social media and letting his actions speak for him.
Morant and his associates had incidents before that caught the attention of people around the league — including a run-in with Indiana Pacers security — however, this incident in a Colorado club was the first one that hit him in the wallet. The suspension cost him $668,659 in game pay, plus one of his major sponsors — Powerade — pulled an ad campaign featuring him that would have run heavily during March Madness.
The biggest hit is Morant possibly missing out on an All-NBA guard spot. Morant could make $39 million more over the five-year extension that kicks in next season if he makes one of the three All-NBA teams. However, the guard spot is especially crowded with deserving players this season and this incident and the missed games do not help his cause.