Men's Basketball Meet Jamal Murray

A new season brings new players and new stories to tell. Over the next several weeks, will be profiling Kentucky’s newcomers in its annual and exclusive “Meet the Wildcats” series. Each story will be accompanied with video. Next up is Jamal Murray, the hard-working, basketball-centric guard from Canada.

Doctors say babies begin reacting and relating to their surroundings at the age of 3 months old. It’s a time where they begin interacting with people and smiling for the sheer enjoyment of it. For Jamal Murray, it was the age he first fell in love.

Murray’s father, Roger, placed a basketball in Jamal’s hands at the tender age of 3 months old. And while doctors don’t conduct studies of what this interaction can have on a baby, for Jamal it was the beginning of a relationship that has only grown with time.

For the Kitchener, Ontario, native, it was love at first site. The orange ball with dots all over it may have just been a fun thing for a young child to play with, but over time that toy became a hobby, and then a passion, and perhaps now an obsession.

When he wakes up each morning he doesn’t need to be motivated to work out, to get up shots or go to practice. For Murray, basketball is something he always wants to be playing and to be around for the rest of his life.

“It’s a sport I love,” he said. “I’m not doing it for anything else. I’m doing it for me and my family and how much I love the sport. My individual passion for it is something that I never want to get out of. If I’m not playing I’m coaching. If I’m not coaching I’m helping. I’m doing something with basketball. That’s what I want a profession in.”

Talk to the 6-foot-4 guard for just five minutes and it becomes crystal clear there are two things at the center of his life: his family and basketball.

As a child, Murray would go with his dad, a former track athlete who specialized in the 100-meter but also played a little basketball, to the gym. As his dad played basketball with his friends, Jamal would sit on the sideline or dribble around while he was playing, taking mental notes and working on his own game.

“He’s very competitive so I just remember bits and pieces of him yelling or something like that during a shot,” Murray said. “He’s real athletic. He’s always been around me on the court. Every time I’m on the court in the summertime he’ll come and train me or practice with me. We’ve always been on the court together.”

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