Bomani Jones

Back in March, ESPN’s Jalen Rose sat down with Memphis Grizzlies star Ja Morant following multiple firearm-related incidents that were starting to imperil his NBA future. Rose had presumably landed the interview after a segment in which he compared Morant’s situation to his own troubles as a young NBA player, saying “I’ve been that young player carrying a gun.”

During the interview, Morant expressed contrition for the situation that he’d put himself and his teammates in, saying that “I realize what I have to lose” and that he needed to be “more responsible, more smarter and staying away from all the bad decisions.”

The interview was met with a lot of blowback from the sports media world. Some, like ESPN’s Michael Wilbon, said they failed to see true contrition from the Grizzlies star. Others, like Meadowlark Media’s Dan Le Batard, lambasted Rose, saying the interview did nothing but serve ESPN and was a case study of what’s wrong with a lot of major interview opportunities these days.

Bomani Jones, who recently appeared on the Awful Announcing podcast, echoed the sentiment that Morant didn’t quite seem to understand the situation he was putting himself in.

“From the interview with Jalen Rose, I did not come away from that feeling like someone got through to him,” Jones said in March on the Locked On Grizzlies podcast. “I came away from that feeling like somebody gave him the things he needed to say to get back to playing basketball.”

Those concerns about Morant’s true contrition were validated on Sunday when a new Instagram Live video appeared to show Morant flashing a gun in a car. The Grizzlies suspended their star player indefinitely and critics took the NBA player to task over his apparant need to have a gun in his hands.

On the latest episode of The Right Time with Bomani Jones, the HBO and ESPN sports commentator shared his unfiltered thoughts on Morant, where the Memphis star goes from here, and what’s really going on inside his head. As part of that, Jones wondered aloud about how Rose came at his interview with Morant and why he might now wish he had done it differently.

“What happened with Jalen Rose with that interview, that I think that if he had a chance to go back over and do what he would do differently, Jalen saw himself and saw some of the mistakes that he made and saw a dude who he felt like was making similar mistakes, but y’all aren’t the same dude,” Jones said. “I don’t think they’re the same person. I don’t think they’re going through the same things. I don’t think the issues they had were necessarily the same, but Jalen saw himself in this young man, and I think that powered the way that he viewed this, right?”

Jones’ thoughts echo what Le Batard said previously, that Rose’s approach is likely what got him access but didn’t serve anyone, including Morant, because it led to the ESPN analyst coming at things from a personal point of view rather than a critical one.

For his part, Rose said on Sunday evening that Morant was “irresponsible” and that believes the NBA will suspend him for at least half of the upcoming season.

[The Right Time with Bomani Jones, via Barrett Sports Media]

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to