Ja Morant not ‘completely better’ but promises to ‘be more responsible’ ahead of return from suspension

Ja Morant addressed the media prior to his return to NBA action, promising to “be more responsible” but acknowledging that his time off the court hasn’t made him “completely better.”

The Memphis Grizzlies guard, 23, was spotted brandishing a gun in an Instagram Live video at a nightclub outside of Denver. As a result, the NBA suspended him for eight games without pay for “conduct detrimental to the league.”

Despite being eligible due to what the Grizzlies referred to as “return to competition reconditioning,” Morant did not participate in the team’s victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Monday. He was supporting his team from the bench.

The Grizzlies star, who underwent counseling in Florida, spoke to the media for the first time on Tuesday. However, following his participation in team practices, Morant stated that stress management is a “continuing” process.

Morant told reporters, “Obviously, took that time to better myself, get in a better mental space.”

For me, it’s a continuous process that is still going on. It goes without saying that even though I’ve been there for two weeks, I’m not entirely better. That’s why I’ve continued that process ever since coming out for myself.

Ja Morant stands on the sideline before the Memphis Grizzlies' game against the Dallas Mavericks.

While maintaining that he has “never had an alcohol problem,” Morant was emphatic about his regret for what he had done.

“I sincerely apologize for that [his suspension],” Morant uttered. As I mentioned before, my current responsibility is to be more responsible and intelligent and to stop causing any of that.

“I traveled to counseling in Florida to acquire stress management skills. Instead of attempting the previous methods of stress management, which led to mistakes, learn how to cope with stress in a constructive manner.

Prior to the incident in Denver, according to Morant, he had become aware that his “stress levels had (been) becoming a problem” and that he was “pretty much kind of afraid to leave the team.”

“Clubbing is not on my mind at all right now,” he continued.

Morant expressed his regret, saying, “Obviously, I’ve made mistakes in the past that cause a lot of negative attention – not only to me but also to my family, my team, and the organization.”

“So, as I mentioned before, my job is to be more responsible and intelligent and to stop causing any of that.”

Morant walks off the court after the game against the Mavericks.

The NBA website reports that Morant lost out on $669,000 in pay as well as the opportunity to complete the five-year deal he signed in July by being selected to the All-NBA team as a result of his suspension.

As the team prepares to host the Houston Rockets on Monday, Memphis head coach Taylor Jenkins expressed optimism to reporters about Morant’s potential return to competitive play.

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