Washington Wizards star Kyle Kuzma was asked about the situation involving Memphis Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant, who was suspended for two games for appearing to brandish a weapon on social media.

Kuzma, who won an NBA championship with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2020, was asked about the latest controversy over the Grizzlies star after the Wizards fell to the Toronto Raptors 116-109 in overtime on Saturday night. evening.

He said NBA players are lucky to be in the situation they’re in and drew parallels to his own situation where he had to figure out who he was keeping in his own circle.

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Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma goes to the basket for a layup against the Toronto Raptors on Saturday, March.  4, 2023, in Washington.

Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma goes to the basket for a layup against the Toronto Raptors on Saturday, March. 4, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Terrance Williams)

«I just feel like as black men in our country, especially us in the position that we’re in, we’re blessed to be 1 percent. We’re blessed to have, in his case a shoe deal, $200 million on the horizon. , and I think that many times we are figures, but we are also models to follow», explained Kuzma. «And you have to realize that everyone, all the kids, everyone in general, is looking at us. It’s unfortunate.»

«I know when I first came to the league I had all my friends from the city around me. We had great times and it was very important to keep my friends close because I grew up with them. But if my friends are just Yes, and no they allow me to be the best version of myself Are they really my friends?

Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant adjusts his protective mask before shooting a pair of free throws against the Nuggets on Friday, March 3, 2023, in Denver.

Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant adjusts his protective mask before shooting a pair of free throws against the Nuggets on Friday, March 3, 2023, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

«It just sucks, man. It definitely sucks… I look at another guy like Miles Bridges. One of my brothers too. It’s all about your circle. You gotta keep your s— tight. For us, like I said, «I’ve got We are lucky to have these situations, to have all this money and influence and we want to try to use it for the greatest good possible. It doesn’t matter who you are. He will learn from it. He is too young. He has a bright future. It’s part of his journey.»

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Morant broadcast the video on his Instagram Live and a screenshot of him appearing to be holding the gun quickly circulated on social media. The video aired hours after the Grizzlies played the Denver Nuggets on Saturday morning. The Grizzlies were set to take on the Clippers and Lakers in their next games in Los Angeles.

Morant issued an apology.

«I take full responsibility for my actions last night,» Morant said. «I’m sorry to my family, teammates, coaches, fans, partners, the city of Memphis and the entire Grizzlies organization for letting them down. I will take time to get help and work to learn better methods of dealing with stress and my general well-being.

Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant dribbles during the Nuggets game at Ball Arena on March 3, 2023 in Denver.

Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant dribbles during the Nuggets game at Ball Arena on March 3, 2023 in Denver. (Ron Chenoy-USA Today Sports)

The gun incident is the latest in a series of controversies hanging over the superstar point guard. Morant’s actions came under investigation after a Jan. 29 incident in Memphis that he said led to a friend, Davonte Pack, being banned from home games for a year.

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Morant and Pack are also involved in a civil lawsuit brought after an incident last summer in which a 17-year-old boy alleged he was assaulted at Morant’s home. The Shelby County District Attorney’s Office said in January that it was «aware of the incident and, after a careful review of the facts, decided that there was insufficient evidence to proceed with the case.»

Associated Press contributed to this report.