MEMPHIS — All-Star point guard ha morantwho participated in his first practice with the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday following an eight-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the NBA, described his attempt to find better ways to manage stress through counseling as “an ongoing process.”
Morant, who the Grizzlies anticipate will return in Wednesday’s home game against the Houston Rockets, spent 11 days in a Florida counseling center after he brandished a gun during an early morning Instagram live video feed from a Denver area strip club. March 4
“Obviously I took that time to improve myself, get into a better space mentally,” Morant said. “It’s an ongoing process, an ongoing process for me. Obviously, I’ve been there for two weeks, but that doesn’t mean I’m completely better. So that’s an ongoing process for me that I’ve still continued since I’ve been out.”
Morant said he had worried about his stress level before the controversy in Colorado, but did not want to leave his team to enter a counseling program during the season. Morant, who signed a five-year contract extension that could be worth as much as $233 million if he’s an All-NBA selection again this season, said he’s realized in the last two weeks just how much he has at stake.
“Obviously, I’ve made mistakes in the past that caused a lot of negative attention, not just for me, but also for my family, my team, the organization, and I’m so sorry,” Morant said. , who leads the Grizzlies with 27.1 points and 8.2 assists per game. “So my job now is, like I said, to be more responsible, smarter and not cause any of that anymore.”
According to the league statement announcing the suspension, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver determined that Morant was in an “intoxicated state” during the Instagram Live session. Morant, however, insisted that he does not consider alcohol abuse to be a problem for him.
“I don’t have an alcohol problem, never had an alcohol problem,” Morant said. “I went (to Florida) for counseling to learn how to manage stress, deal with stress in a positive way instead of the ways I’ve tried to deal with it before, which caused me to make mistakes.”
Morant, 23, deactivated her Instagram and Twitter accounts after the incident, but recently reactivated them. Morant, however, said he won’t be as active on social media as he has been in the past, when he often gave the public glimpses into his private life.
He also said that “clubbing and all that is not on my mind at all right now” when asked about cutting back on his late-night social activities, particularly when the Grizzlies are away.
“Right now for me, it’s just keeping the main thing, the main thing and continuing my process of becoming a better me,” Morant said. “I feel like if I do that, it’s not only going to help me, but it’s going to help everyone around me.”
Morant, who has told the Memphis coaching staff that he is willing to come off the bench as his minutes gradually increase to normal levels, admitted that he is “uncomfortable” with the possible response from fans after he returns from his suspension.
“That’s a lot, man,” Morant said. “A lot of people don’t know what’s going on, not in my place right now with everything that’s been going on lately. Obviously, I take responsibility for decisions I’ve made that hurt me to the core.”
“Like I said, it didn’t just affect me, but it affected everyone around me: my family, this organization, my teammates, and it caused me to not be on the court. Which, one thing I love to do most of it is playing basketball. So it’s a lot, but like I said before, it’s an ongoing process with everything I’ve been doing in the last two weeks, and I’m going to keep doing it to get through everything I need to be healthy.”