Through the first round of the NBA Playoffs, Jamal Murray has staked his claim as one of the league’s brightest young stars. He’s gone head-to-head with Donovan Mitchell, dropping multiple 50-point games and leading the Nuggets to a win-or-go-home Game 7 against the Jazz for a place in the Western Conference semifinals.
On a team ostensibly led by All-Star center Nikola Jokic, Murray has emerged as Denver’s go-to option down the stretch, and over the course of six thrilling games, has proven he’s as clutch and unguardable as any player in Orlando and a relentless threat from just about anywhere on the court.
It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what’s at the root of his electrifying play, but his newly-discovered taste in music might offer us some clues. Murray, who is just 23, has apparently arrived at the ’90s hip-hop portion of his musical education journey, thanks in part to Carmelo Anthony, who has introduced him to the many joys and wonders of old-school rap.
“Sometimes when I go back and if I’m getting a haircut, a lot of guys say, “[Car]melo [Anthony] likes to listen to a lot of the old music, most music,” he said. “And then, that kind of put me on where I’m like, ‘OK, let me go back and look at my collection, to all the music that I listen to.’”
He continued, “With all the players here, everybody is so different from each other [and] everybody listens to different stuff. It definitely brought my mind in terms of Method Man, I listen to Wu-Tang [Clan] and Method Man and they’re showing me tracks from Method Man that I didn’t even know. So, stuff like that where I can broaden my mind, broaden my listening to different rappers, different artists and just kind of get that feel. Like, I put on Raekwon the other day. I don’t even know Raekwon‘s album, but I know a couple songs on it are just fire.”
And he hasn’t stopped there. Murray went on to say that he’s also been checking out Nas, Busta Rhymes, Jay-Z, and Eminem. It’s enough to make you nostalgic for a time when you are just opening the door to so much incredible music. The pregame hype music possibilities are virtually endless.
Murray and the Nuggets will try to stave off elimination in Game 7 against the Jazz on Tuesday night, which tips off at 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC.