Ja Morant is ready to make his return to the court on Tuesday (Dec. 19) after sitting out for a 25-game suspension. The rising NBA superstar’s 2023–2024 season debut was postponed after league commissioner Adam Silver suspended the 24-year-old in June after multiple instances of him brandishing what appeared to be a handgun on social media.
At the time, he released a statement that read, in part, “I’m spending the offseason and my suspension continuing to work on my own mental health and decision making. I’m also going to be training so that I’m ready to go when I can get back on the court.”
Now, ahead of suiting up for a road game against the New Orleans Pelicans, the Memphis Grizzlies point guard held his first press conference, where he spoke about the past four months spent away from the game. “It was definitely tough, some horrible days,” he said on Friday (Dec. 15).
“It was tough, but like I said, to start this with the support that I had throughout this process, it definitely helped me a lot. It’s pretty much all I could lean on at that time. Obviously, basketball is something I’ve been doing pretty much my whole life. Something that’s therapeutic for me. Obviously, taking that away, it makes it tougher. But I had the right people around me, from my family to the organization and to my other partners that helped me along in process,” he added.
As for what he has learned during his downtime, Morant noted that his decision-making has been impacted for the better and that his perspective on being in the league and a role model has been renewed. “I wouldn’t say, you know, I regret it. I’m not happy that it happened. But I’m also grateful that I had this opportunity to reflect and do things that I felt was not only needed for me, but for my family as well. For us to realize what’s at stake, ways we can keep each other happy and how we have each other’s back,” said the second overall 2019 NBA draft pick.
During his absence, the Grizzlies have endured multiple player injuries and are currently ranked as the second-worst team in the Western Conference with a 6-18 record.