Rolling Out

NBA star Ja Morant opens up to ESPN’s Jalen Rose about wielding gun (video)

The point guard shows contrition for the transgressions that got him suspended
Ja Morant speaks to the media after a game. (Photo by Derrel Jazz Johnson for rolling out)
Ja Morant speaks to the media after a game. (Photo by Derrel Jazz Johnson for rolling out)

Perhaps it was apropos that the first interview rising NBA superstar Ja Morant granted was to former “Michigan Fab Five” member Jalen Rose. Especially since Rose admits that he lived through — and survived — the type of youthful exuberance, impetuousness and waywardness that Morant is exemplifying now.

NBA star Ja Morant opens up to ESPN's Jalen Rose about wielding gun (video)
Former NBA star-turned-ESPN analyst, Jalen Rose (Photo credit: Qiana M for rolling out)

As an internationally-famous collegiate star, Rose admits that as a teenager he was part of a drug raid, that he survived an “assassination” attempt and that he carried guns when he shouldn’t have.

Therefore, Rose, who is now 48 and is an ESPN analyst, can empathize with the type of growing pains and angst that led to the same bad decisions that has Morant suspended for eight games without pay. Morant was temporarily banished from the NBA after brandishing a firearm in a strip club in Denver, the latest in a string of disturbing and violent behavior exhibited by the spectacular point guard.

In video clips released to the media, Morant admitted to rose that it was a “terrible mistake” to post himself shirtless with a handgun on Instagram.

“I don’t condone any type of violence, but I take full responsibility for my actions,” Morant said. “I made a bad mistake. I can see the image that I painted [of] 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.”

Morant also told Rose that he is grateful for his platform and that he values being a role model, something he admits he has not illustrated in an exemplary manner recently.

According to ESPN and other outlets, Morant is eligible to return from his 16-day hiatus and play for the Memphis Grizzlies on March 20 when the team battles the Dallas Mavericks at FedExForum. 

Below, Rose elaborates on why he said he completely understands what Morant is going through, though he doesn’t condone Morant’s recent behavior.

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