“Ja Morant Reflects on Suspension: ‘It Made Me Better'” – NBA Star Shares No Regrets
Being suspended for the first 25 games of the NBA season was tough on Ja Morant, a two-time All-Star, who expressed on Friday that he’d had “some horrible days” as he worked to focus on himself while away from basketball. He said he didn’t regret being suspended, that it made him better and taught him things about himself. His suspension ends on Tuesday, when he’ll be able to play for the Grizzlies in New Orleans, the second night of a back-to-back road swing. He said he’s been counting down the days until his return and is grateful and thankful to still be here. As the No. 2 pick overall in the 2019 draft, 2020 NBA Rookie of the Year and 2022 Most Improved Player, Morant was suspended for a combined 33 games since he first was caught flashing a gun on a social media livestream last March. Morant first told reporters after the Los Angeles Lakers ousted Memphis from the playoffs in April that he had to make better decisions, knowing off-the-court issues affected the Grizzlies’ season. Only two weeks later, Morant was singing with friends when he was caught holding up a handgun during a livestream video. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver imposed the second suspension and required Morant to talk weekly with the NBA office and the NBA Players Association. Morant also talked personally with Silver this week. Although he has a home in Tennessee, where gun laws for adults are relaxed, Morant is the Grizzlies’ biggest star and Silver has made it very clear Morant must meet a high standard. Morant said basketball has been his therapy. Alan, his therapist, has helped him since his second suspension in mid-June. “The change will be that my decision-making and how I go about my daily life … being the best Ja I can be,” he said. Upon his return, Morant will face Zion Williamson, and he said he’s not forcing a historic game his first game back, just helping the Grizzlies win. In summary, just being back in an NBA game will be his latest big step.