8:27 AM PT -- Ja Morant just addressed the suspension ... saying, "I've had time to reflect and I realize how much hurt I've caused. I want to apologize to the NBA, the Grizzlies, my teammates and the city of Memphis."
Morant also directly apologized to Silver, Grizzlies owner Robert Pera and GM Zach Kleiman for "the harm I've done" ... and shared his regret to his young fans.
"To the kids who look up to me, I'm sorry for failing you as a role model. I promise I'm going to be better."
Morant said he will spend his time away to focus on his mental health and decision making ... and will continue to train to be ready to go when his suspension is over.
"I hope you'll give me the chance to prove to you over time I'm a better man than what I've been showing you."
Ja Morant will miss more than a quarter of the 2023-24 NBA season as a result of his second gun-flashing incident -- the league just slapped the Memphis Grizzlies star with a 25-game suspension.
Adam Silver announced the punishment just minutes ago ... saying, "Ja Morant’s decision to once again wield a firearm on social media is alarming and disconcerting given his similar conduct in March for which he was already suspended eight games."
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"The potential for other young people to emulate Ja's conduct is particularly concerning. Under these circumstances, we believe a suspension of 25 games is appropriate and makes clear that engaging in reckless and irresponsible behavior with guns will not be tolerated."
"For Ja, basketball needs to take a back seat at this time," Silver added. "Prior to his return to play, he will be required to formulate and fulfill a program with the league that directly addresses the circumstances that led him to repeat this destructive behavior."
There were rumors Morant's team was claiming the gun shown in the video was actually fake ... but the Association said Friday it concluded the firearm was real.
As part of the punishment, Morant will be required to meet certain conditions before he will get the green light to return to the court.
If he hits the criteria, Morant will be available to play in December.