Jamal Murray has scored 142 points in his last three games to help drag the Nuggets to a Game 7 against the Utah Jazz after falling behind in the series, 3-1. On Sunday, Murray produced his second 50-point game of the series in a 119-107 win to force that decisive Game 7 and keep Denver’s season alive, managing to stay in rhythm even coming after an extra three day layoff after players refused to play in protest of police shooting Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
After the game, Murray was emotional, not just about the win, but about what he and the NBA were fighting for. Pointing to his sneakers, adorned with pictures of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, Murray said they give him life and give him something worth fighting for, and the rising Canadian star spoke on how this isn’t just an American problem but a problem everywhere.
“I just wanna win. And in life you find things that hold value to you, things to fight for, and we found something worth fighting for as the NBA, as a collective unit,” Murray said. “And I use these shoes as a symbol to me to keep fighting, all around the world. All I can say is keep fighting. We want to win. I show my emotion and it comes out, so. … Cause it’s not just in America, it happens everywhere. For us to come together in the NBA, and it doesn’t take one meeting, it takes a couple meetings, few meetings, it takes phone calls, it takes resistance. It’s not going to take one night, and we’ve been trying to fight for 400 years but these shoes give me life. Even though these people are gone, they give me life. They give me — they help me find strength to keep fighting in this world. That’s what I’m going to keep doing.”
When the players decided to continue playing this was the reason why, and what makes what Murray and others are doing all the more impressive. The emotional toll of this week and this year and every previous example of police violence against Black people wears heavy on all of them, but they’re not only coming out to play incredible basketball through all of that, they’re ensuring that afterwards, while the world is watching, they continue to speak on these issues and how they permeate life in America and beyond.