Over the last couple of weeks, I had the chance to catch up with former Cleveland Cavaliers small forward Lamond Murray. It’s hard to believe that this year would mark the 10-year anniversary of Murray leading the Cavs in scoring. Equally hard to believe is that 16.6 points would be the mark that would take home the blue ribbon.
Murray was a veteran wing on a team full of young, up-and-coming players. The Cavs had just drafted Zydrunas Ilguaskas, Andre Miller and Trajan Langdon. Our rods and cones were mutilated nightly by the black and electric blue jerseys these cats wore on a nightly basis. Little did we know that the eight years following Murray’s tenure with the team would be some of the best that this NBA franchise ever endured. Also unknown was the path Murray’s career would take once he stopped playing basketball on a professional level, 11 seasons in the NBA and a few others overseas.
Exactly where that path led can be found at my feature over at Cleveland.com. However, there were a few nuggets of infrmation which simply did not fit within the piece. I figured that it would be good to share them with you all here.
– Though Ricky Davis was a part of the Cavaliers’ roster when Murray was in town, he had recently arrived via trade from Charlotte and would be a fixture off of the bench. “An energy guy,” as Muray described, who would fill his vacant roster spot in the 2002-03 season when the small forward would move on to Toronto. Though Davis is known mostly for his crazy antics and attempts at triple-doubles, Murray remembers him most for a dunk on Steve Nash. This one.
– I’ll never get over how amazing an athlete’s memory is. LeBron James used to speak of specific minutes and plays and execution; Murray was no different. When I asked him about the specific play I referenced in the lede, he immediately shot back with all things milieu. The mask, the play, watching the video in the locker room afterwards, just so he knew for sure that the shot was good. For what it’s worth, he also recalls this play, though I’m not sure how anyone would forget it. Especially if you’re the poor soul left standing in the key as 30,000 fans scream at your expense.
– Murray classified Shawn Kemp as “disappointing,” but not a disappointment. When Kemp was in Cleveland, he was still one of the team’s leaders and top producers. The disappointing part is that he could have been so much more to this city if not for his well-chronicled weight gain which stemmed largely from the lockout in the late 1990s. A lot of players looked up to Kemp during his days in the league as he was an insane talent. The way things ended were undoubtedly unfortunate.
– When asked about today’s labor impassed, Murray sounded a bit frustrated. He was in his prime during the 1998 version, but was thankful that the biggest names in the league stepped to the table to bargain for the betterment of the game. Though the post-lockout season would not start until the calendar turned, the league’s stars helped obtain resolve. “It was a lot different then,” Murray said. “These guys need to step up.”
– Murray, like most players of his generation, also feels that play was a lot better when he suited up than it is now. “The game was more diverse,” he said. “There were one or two stars across various teams. It allowed other guys to fill a role and earn more money, it was more competitive.” He has been one of the more vocal player surrounding the European invasion of late, noting that this has also had a large impact on the way teams have been shaped. Needless to say, he’s not exactly enamored with today’s stars, regardless of the arbitrary measures of success that national pundits want to toss about; ratings, big-market success, etc.
– When Murray isn’t spending time with NCSA and students involved therein, he’s running his company called “Real Run Academy,” helping children kindergarten through 12th grade obtain physical education classes in the event they are home schooled or a part of a charter program that does not offer PE otherwise. While the mission is to help the children evolve in terms of motor skills, it also allows them to share the experience with other kids with whom they would not get the opportunity to engage with outside of the academy.
It goes without saying that WFNY thanks Murray for his willingness to take time out of his obviously busy day-to-day schedule. In a day when we are inundated with brand building and me-first thinking, it’s refreshing to hear stories like the one owned by Lamond Murray. If you opted to not click on the link above to soak it all in, I’ll save you the scrolling – here you go!