Memphis Grizzlies superstar Ja Morant sat down with ESPN’s Jalen Rose on Wednesday to discuss the run of off-court incidents that saw him suspended for eight games and entering a counseling program at a facility in Florida. Morant was asked about the gun he was seen waving inside a club in Denver and where he’s at mentally. His answers all sounded rehearsed. None of it matters unless his actions prove otherwise.
“The gun wasn’t mine. It’s not who I am,” Morant said. “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.”
Morant was involved in four separate incidents dating back to last summer in which there was either a threat of violence or actual violence. In three of the four incidents a gun was allegedly present. In these incidents it wasn’t only Morant, but also his friends.
“Honestly, I feel like we put ourselves in that situation with our past mistakes, and now it’s only right that we focus in and lock in on being smarter and more responsible, holding each other accountable for everything,” Morant said. “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.”
What Morant Has To Lose
Morant signed a five-year, $194 million rookie max extension set to begin on July 1. He has a signature shoe set to debut with Nike next month, and he just signed a multi-year deal to be the face of Powerade.
What was it Morant and his associates didn’t understand was at stake? You were involved in incidents with guns. The main thing is, you could lose your life.
Not to mention, a two-time All-Star, All-NBA face of a contending team and new face of the NBA. He wasn’t aware that he has the world at his feet and has the opportunity to make generational impact?
Actions Will Speak Louder Than Words
The answers given by Morant during the interview sounded rehearsed as though they were prepared by the team’s public relations staff. In truth Morant can say he’s taking full responsibility and will make better decisions, but he’s going to have to prove it with his actions.
Unfortunately, the spotlight will be on him like never before. He’s no longer the fun, brash, young leader of an upstart contender. He’s labeled as something else now because of his actions, and everything he does will be dissected and scrutinized.
While Ja will face extreme scrutiny, so too will those around him, and that includes his father. Tee Morant has been front and center courtside and present in at least two of the alleged incidents.
It’s great that he supports his son, but many have accused him of being too much of a friend and not enough of a father, including rapper Cam’ron.
Outrageous fame and riches are difficult to manage for almost everyone. Add in the hubris and immaturity of youth and it’s even harder.
Morant is only 23, so he has time to mature, but everyone will be watching.
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