Photo: kaijones242/IG

In an interview with NBA insider Shams Charania, Kai Jones, the new Philadelphia 76ers’ power forward, candidly shared his emotional journey, revealing the inner turmoil he faced over the past summer.

Jones, who recently signed a 10-day contract with the Sixers after being waived by the Charlotte Hornets, reflected on the emotional turmoil he experienced last summer, attributing it to the loss of two great grandparents and the demanding nature of professional basketball.

“Overall it was a great situation for me to showcase my talents and work on my game,” Jones said about being on the Hornets. “Things obviously didn’t end the way that I really wanted them to. I think it was just a lot of miscommunication and misunderstanding on both ends.

“And that happened, so what I did was take this time to work on myself and make myself the better version of myself, the best version of myself so that I can come back into the NBA and be who I want to be.”

He expressed, “I was having a tough time with some family members passing away. I lost two my great grandparents in one summer. It was an emotional summer for me.

“Dealing with that along with the NBA lifestyle, it can be a lot. It’s a very busy schedule, it’s very mentally straining for me, especially my younger self not really knowing how to cope with those things. I just had to learn the skills of coping with adversity the right way. That’s something that I’ve gotten better at.

“And I plan to continue developing going forward. I use the term ‘GOAT life’ a lot on my Instagram and Twitter. That’s what that’s really about for me because we have a lot to navigate as human beings with our careers and our passions. We all want to do what we love and be happy while also taking care of our business.”

Jones opened up about his journey through isolation and erratic behavior, shedding light on his battle with negative thoughts and the fear of mortality.

He shared, “For me it was kind of pushing everybody away. So anybody who I felt like they didn’t really understand me, I was just pushing them all away. It made me feel really isolated. And in that isolation you’re just dealing with the voices in your head and you kind of have to learn how to navigate those voices and calm yourself.

“I look back at my tweets I was just tweeting so much about I’m this and I’m that. I think I was just trying to cancel out the negative voices in my head. Because to be honest with you Shams, I didn’t want to die. That was the first people in my family that I’ve seen die like that, not from getting killed… My grandmother, she died from old age.

“And I’m like, ‘What? I don’t want to die, I want to live forever.’ So I’m trying to pray super hard. And voices in your head are like, ‘You know you could die if you don’t lock in life.’ It was just a lot of confusion for me. I pushed a lot of people away.

“I used to be with Klutch [Sports], I’m sure you know that. I pushed all those guys away. Still thankful for what they did for me. I was very erratic and emotional at the time, so I was like ‘I don’t want to deal with y’all anymore.’ Feeling like I’m being underappreciated, feeling like I’m being underrated. That’s the whole other side of me to be honest with you.

“I still have a lot to prove. Now that I understand how the game works, I’m like ‘All right, I’ll just play it better.’ I’ll just be better in life. That’s the area I have to grow in. A lot of therapy, basketball has been my refuge. I do music too.”