Memphis Grizzlies’ Ja Morant sat down in his first interview since the NBA suspended him for flashing a handgun on social media. In an excerpt from ESPN released Wednesday, Morant told Jalen Rose that “It’s not who I am. I don’t condone any type of violence, but I take full responsibility for my actions.”
Morant added, “I made a bad mistake. I can see that the image I painted of myself with my recent mistakes, but in the future, I’ma show everybody who Ja really is, what I’m about, and change this narrative.” He also claimed that the gun in the video was not his.
The NBA suspended the all-star guard for eight games without pay following the league’s investigation into the incident. However, Morant has already served six of the eight-game punishment as part of a team suspension and his own “time away to get help,” making him eligible to return to the Grizzlies on Monday, March 20.
But since Morant hasn’t played since the March 4 incident and hasn’t been involved in basketball activities, ESPN reports that he might require more days to “ramp up” for game action before returning to the court.
“Ja’s conduct was irresponsible, reckless and potentially very dangerous. It also has serious consequences given his enormous following and influence, particularly among young fans who look up to him,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement.
“He has expressed sincere contrition and remorse for his behavior. Ja has also made it clear to me that he has learned from this incident and that he understands his obligations and responsibility to the Memphis Grizzlies and the broader NBA community extend well beyond his play on the court.”
The NBA’s investigation “did not conclude that the gun at issue belonged to Morant, was brought by him into the nightclub or was displayed by him beyond a brief period.” Similarly, police in Colorado did not find sufficient evidence to charge Morant with a crime.
In a statement following the incident, Morant said he took “full responsibility for my actions last night. I’m sorry to my family, teammates, coaches, fans, partners, the city of Memphis and the entire organization for letting you down. I’m going to take some time away to get help and work on learning better methods of dealing with stress and my overall well-being.”
The Instagram Live video —which was uploaded onto Morant’s account just hours after the Grizzlies’ March 3 road loss to the Denver Nuggets — came just days after a Washington Post report accused Morant of both beating up a 17-year-old boy and threatening a mall security guard during separate incidents in July 2022.
Morant’s alleged fight with the teenager during a pickup basketball game was previously reported — the boy and his mother sued Morant in Jan. 2023, at which point the incident became widely known — but the report earlier this week revealed new details culled from police interviews, including a claim that Morant threatened the teenager with a gun following the physical altercation.
While Morant didn’t pull the gun on the teen, he had his hand on the firearm, the teenager told police. Morant didn’t deny “brandishing” a weapon at the time of his police interview. Witnesses, however, told police that the teenager “squared up” to fight Morant after the ball-throwing incident and didn’t mention the gun. No charges were filed against Morant.