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Jerian Grant: “My time in the NBA was not done, but this is where I wanted to be now, I’m all about winning”


“All the things that I remember are about basketball. I was born to it, growing up, basketball was everything I knew, I was at basketball games since the day I was born until now.” Jerian Grant has been raised in a basketball family. His dad was a NBA player, Jerian was a ball boy for his father’s Washington Wizards team in the Nineties. His uncle has been able to win four NBA championships and to spend time with the legendary Chicago Bulls teams of the early Nineties, his brother Jerami got to the NBA before him and now he is a US National Team member. The other brothers have been players or are still playing the game. Everything is basketball-related for Jerian. This is part of the family DNA.

  • Playing against your brothers, all of them are players, has helped your game?

“It was a huge benefit. Being competitive but at the same time supporting each other, my knowledge of the game, all of it, playing every day against great players, all my brothers, this definitely helped me”

  • You spent many years at a powerhouse like DeMatha High School. How did those years impact your career?

“It was special, it was really, really, special. Playing at practice every day against the best players in the area, some of the best players in the country, helped to create the best player that you want to be, you don’t run away from many things but compete against the best”

  • You and some teammates founded the Breakfast Club, meeting at 6 am ready to go every day.

“This is what shaped our game. Me, my brother (Jerami Grant-ndr), a couple of other players, Victor Oladipo and Josh Selby, we met at 6 am, school was starting at 7.30, so we stayed in the gym until 7.15, we had 15 minutes to get to class, but we made sure to put together the extra work before the day started”.

  • Then you moved to Notre Dame, staying there five years.

“I learned through hard work, I waited my turn, as a freshman I didn’t play at all, no minutes, I didn’t play any games, but when my turn was there, I made sure I was ready. And the last season, we beat Duke and North Carolina, some top teams, some top programs in the country and we won the ACC championship”.

  • Talk about your NBA years.

“Some of the greatest years of my life, I’ve seen me reach the goals of getting to play in the NBA for five years, playing against the best players in the world, it showed that your hard work is paying off. And for me, to be able to start my career in New York, in Madison Square Garden as a rookie, playing under the brighter lights was a lot of fun. As the year went on, I saw my game progress, and spent years in Chicago, Orlando and finishing off at home, in Washington. It was a great experience for me”.

  • Can you remember the night you were drafted in the first round?

“It was a dream come true, hearing your name, walking on stage, shaking Commissioner’s hand is a dream come true. You work every day, playing basketball, like I said, at 6 am, The Breakfast Club, the grind and hearing your name that was just the highlight of my career.”

  • You had a bet with Jerami about who was going to get drafted higher. Did he pay?

“Absolutely, a bet is a bet. At the end of the day, he had to pay up. Obviously, his career turned out to be great. I’m happy for him. He’s on the USA Team, it’s amazing, he’s special”.

  • You are satisfied with the way your NBA career turned out?

“I’m definitely not satisfied. I know, I got to play for five years in the NBA, that is a lot more than a lot of people can say. So, you have to be definitely excited about that. But I feel like my time wasn’t done, I had a lot more to give, I could have done a lot more, but you go with how much work you did and at the end of day it turned out well.”

  • Your first European season was spent at Promitheas, in Greece.

“It was a great experience, my first year being in Europe I played with my brother. Playing with my older brother was a lot of fun, we won a lot of games together, we played well together, and adjusting to a different style of basketball I think I did pretty well.”

  • Basketball is different in Europe?

“I think it is more physical. Throughout the game, you get fouled, pushed, held a lot more, so adjusting to the physicality of the game is something you have to do.”

  • You are about to make your EuroLeague debut in Milano.

“Coming here is exactly where I wanted to be. Coming at the top level. There is the NBA and then the EuroLeague. It is a step up, so I’m definitely looking forward to the competition, playing against the rest of the best players in the world who are not in the NBA. I’m excited for that.”

  • Can you describe yourself as a player?

“For me, the first thing is winning. I do what my teams need me to do to win. I come into any situation expecting to win, expecting to help my team win, and that what describes my game number one. I just can do a little bit of everything, I can score when we need to, I can get ten assists when we need to, I can make shots, I defend at a high level so as a winner I do what my team needs.”

  • But what’s your favorite position on the floor?

“I have played both positions all my life, the 1 and the 2. But I love to have the ball in my hands, I feel like I can do more for my team that way, but if I need to play off the ball, I will find a way to make things happen.”