Q+A: Jerami Grant

The Currys currently hold the crown for NBA bloodlines with Stephen Curry having wrapped up an MVP season with an NBA title and younger brother Seth having signed a two-year deal with the Kings, all while father Dell can always say, ‘Who do you think taught them how to shoot?’

There is another name, however, with a much deeper pipeline: Grant.

Philadelphia 76ers’ Jerami Grant is the son of former pro Harvey Grant, twin brother of four-time Champion Horace Grant. Just this past June, Jerami’s older brother, Jerian, was drafted 19th overall by the Washington Wizards, before being traded to the Atlanta Hawks and finally landing with the New York Knicks.

With older brother Jerai playing overseas and youngest brother Jaelin following in their footsteps, you can imagine that the Grant household is a competitive one.

Jerami put the League on notice last year with his fierce rim assaults. While Philadelphia’s record was poor, which could be expected from a team in full-on rebuilding mode, it wasn’t a testament to how hard the team competed under coach Brett Brown, nor how exciting they could be at times.

Going into his second year and with a core of equally young and hungry talent, Grant wants to not only honor the Grant name by continuing to improve, but he also wants to exceed the production of both his father and uncle.

SLAM caught up with Jerami to discuss what he’s worked on this offseason, his NBA upbringing and his expectations on the upcoming season.

SLAM: What are some of the things you wanted to improve on this summer?

Jerami Grant: Getting stronger was a big one, and I think I accomplished that, shooting consistency and being able to knock down open shots and also ball handling.

SLAM: You were able to start the final 10 games of last season. What did that do for you from a confidence standpoint headed into the offseason?

JG: It definitely boosted my confidence. Being on the court and being able to make mistakes and continue to play through them, I think throughout the season in being on the Sixers as a whole—a team that’s building for the future—I think it’s definitely good for us young guys in being able to make mistakes and being able to play through them. I think that has helped me going forward.

SLAM: With getting the experience and knowing what the team is looking for in terms of your production, what do you see your role as?

JG: I think I’m more of a leader on this team. I know we’re all young and I’m one of the youngest, at the same time, I’m always trying to coach guys up, whether it’s on or off the court, getting guys together and just trying to make it more home-like for everybody because I know everyone has come from different areas and different places. I think we have to grow together to be successful and I’m the key guy to bring everyone together.

SLAM: How pleased were you with your production in Summer League?

JG: I was pleased with Summer League. I didn’t get a chance to play as much as I would have wanted. At the same time, [the Sixers] wanted to hold me out a little bit. They didn’t want me to play too much. They wanted me to get a little bit of rest because after the season, I might have taken a week and a half off before I went back to Philly and started working out, so I think they wanted to make sure I got some rest. I was pleased with how I played, though.

SLAM: What are your impressions of Jahlil Okafor so far, and how excited are you to play with him?

JG: I’m extremely excited because he’s a great player and he’s also a great person off the court. It’s extremely rare to have a back-to-the-basket big to play with. I think he’s going to demand a lot of attention, whether it’s this year or next year. I definitely think it’s something rare for us and we’ll definitely utilize that to our advantage.

SLAM: With Joel Embiid expected to miss a second straight year and you guys being as close as you are, how hurt were you to hear that he has to sit out another season?

JG: It’s extremely sad because me and him are extremely close. We’re always talking about the season and things like that. I know when he found out that he wouldn’t be playing this season, it hurt him, but at the same time, we know what he can do. He was playing with us all summer. He’s an extremely talented player, skill-wise, strength-wise and athleticism-wise. I know that when he’s able to play, we have something that people won’t expect. I’m looking forward to being able to see him play with us on the court. It’s sad to see him miss two straight seasons, but at the same time, when he is able to play, I think he’ll surprise a lot of people.

SLAM: With your father and uncle being in the NBA, how is growing up in that environment and how do you think that everything you experienced as a youth because of that helped prepare you for where you’re at now?

JG: I think growing up with a dad and an uncle in the NBA made you want to be where they were. I think me and my brothers, all of our goals was to get to the NBA. Not only get there, but excel in the NBA and be on top. I think that’s what pushed me and my older brother, Jerian, to get to the NBA. Growing up, you always seen players and you kind of take it for granted because they were just people in the NBA to us. They were where we wanted to be, but at the same time, you didn’t really get the affect that you get now when you’re in the NBA and there’s people looking up to you. I definitely think it is a big part in why I’m here today.

SLAM: In growing up in an NBA household, was there any pressure to hoop or were you just naturally drawn to it?

JG: I think it was natural. It was always on TV, it was always everywhere. When you see something so much when you’re growing up, you naturally just gravitate toward it. We always wanted to be better than our dad and my uncle, so I think it was kind of like a test that me and Jerian just took on and it just happened. We picked up the game at an early age and it just never stopped.

SLAM: How competitive is that household growing up with having all four brothers hooping? You’re all athletic and trying to be better than your father and uncle?

JG: It’s extremely competitive. My brothers are definitely the most competitive people, whether it’s basketball or anything. We’re competitive in mostly any aspect of life. That definitely helps in basketball. Growing up with people that want to be the best in everything that they do, it just rubs off on you. I thank my brothers for being like that because it definitely rubbed off on me.

SLAM: Do you have a favorite NBA childhood moment?

JG: I remember, and it didn’t have anything to do with playing basketball, but I used to go to the Wizards facility with my dad and brother and we used to play 2K with Gilbert Arenas all the time and he would just kill me and let me know about it also.

SLAM: How did it feel to see your brother drafted this year?

JG: When he got drafted, it was amazing because I know how hard he worked. To honestly see it happen… I’m speechless. It’s definitely emotional. I know me and him have been talking about making the NBA since before high school. To see it happen, it was amazing. It was just an emotional moment and even now, we’re talking about what we’re going to do. We’re not satisfied with where we’re at. I’m a second-year player and he’s a rookie, but we’re definitely not satisfied with just getting here. We always talk about what we’re going to do and what we’re going to accomplish. I think that’s one of the reasons why we’re going to be more successful than a lot of people envisioned when we were growing up.

SLAM: What do you think it’s going to feel like when you two face off for the first time as pros?

JG: I think it’s going to be emotional. It’s going to be emotional seeing him on the other end of the court, knowing I’m going to play against him. At the same time, we’re going to go hard at one another. It’s not going to be any letting up just because he’s my brother. It’s going to be competitive just as it has since we were born. I definitely think it’s going to be a little trash talk. We always trash talk to one another, but at the same time, it’s going to be competitive. That’s just how we are.

SLAM: Who wins in a dunk contest between you and Jerian?

JG: Definitely me! He got a little bounce but I’m going to have to go home with that one.

SLAM: What can we expect from the Sixers this season?

JG: You can expect us not to quit. Even though we’re not the most talented team, at the moment, or we might be extremely talented, but just extremely young at the same time; I definitely think everyone can expect us to come out and play every last minute of all 48 hard. I think that our fans appreciate. Even though we’re not winning that many games, as they would like, every night we’re coming out and giving it our all. Going forward, I think that’s something that you can’t really teach older teams. Going forward and as we get older, I definitely think that’s going to give us an edge.