Ja Morant, the Memphis Grizzlies’ young and dynamic point guard, has entered a counseling program in Florida following a recent injury that forced him to be sidelined indefinitely. It’s certainly not the news that Grizzlies fans were hoping for, but it shows the maturity and devotion to his mental health of the 21-year-old athlete.
According to ESPN, the counseling program is meant to “continue his focus on his emotional well-being” and will not have a fixed timetable for his return to the court. This news comes after the team announced that Morant suffered a Grade 2 ankle sprain in a game against the Brooklyn Nets on December 28th.
Morant has since taken to social media to express his gratitude for all the support he has received from his fans during this challenging time. He wrote: “I’m very grateful to each and every one of you who believe in me and the work I’m doing. I will return stronger and better than ever.”
It’s worth noting that Morant has been open about the impact of his superstar status since entering the NBA. In an interview with The Undefeated, he said: “I’ve realized that being a professional athlete, especially in basketball, is more than just basketball. You’ve got to have a great mental state to go through everything that comes with being a professional athlete, and I’m still learning.”
This sentiment echoes an increasingly prevalent discussion in the sports world of athletes taking care of their mental health, which can be a major factor in their performance on the court or field. Morant’s decision to seek counseling shows his awareness of this issue and his willingness to prioritize his emotional well-being.
The Grizzlies organization has also shown their support for Morant during this time, with head coach Taylor Jenkins saying: “We want to make sure he’s taking care of himself first and foremost, and then we’ll attack the rehab and attack getting him back on the court.”
It’s clear that Morant’s return to the court will be heavily dependent on his personal progress in counseling, but the Grizzlies will undoubtedly be eager to see him back in action as soon as he’s ready.
In the meantime, other Grizzlies players such as Dillon Brooks and Kyle Anderson have stepped up in Morant’s absence, helping the team keep pace in the competitive Western Conference.
Overall, this is an important reminder that athletes are not just superhumans who can push through injuries and mental health struggles without consequences. The league, teams, and fans alike need to prioritize the well-being of players as human beings first and foremost, rather than just assets to be utilized for athletic performance.