Nuggets' Jamal Murray: 'Skin Color Should Not Determine Whether I Live or Die'

Blake SchusterAnalyst IIAugust 30, 2020

Denver Nuggets' Jamal Murray (27) passes against Utah Jazz's Royce O'Neale during Game 3 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Friday, Aug. 21, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Mike Ehrmann/Pool Photo via AP)
Mike Ehrmann/Associated Press

Jamal Murray used his first media appearance since the NBA's work stoppage to provide a short demonstration.

At the beginning of his session, Murray left a pair of sneakers bearing the likeness of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd on the table ahead of him and sat silent for two minutes.

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#BlackLivesMatter https://t.co/j2C5yP1AxK

Murray explained the act moments later:

"I just wanted it to resonate with you guys and anybody else that is watching. How long was that? Two minutes? One person on that shoe had a knee on the neck for eight [minutes and 46 seconds] ... it doesn't take me, a 23-year-old, to recognize that's not right and that should be in everybody's mind.

"If you don't see it that way, then there's a problem with you. I just want to let that sit. That was only two minutes ... only a quarter of a time that somebody had a knee on their neck ... he was a father, and a son, and a brother. It's tough when you really let it sink in your mind and replay it over and over in your head."

The guard went on to restate his point in a succinct manner.

"My skin color should not determine whether I live or die," Murray said.

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"That's why I wear 'Freedom' on my back because it doesn't matter where you're from, lives matter." https://t.co/hecaCquMGA

The NBA is back in action on Saturday after one of the most historic weeks in professional sports.

Following the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Sunday, the Milwaukee Bucks became the first team to refuse to play a postseason game against the Orlando Magic, a decision that kicked off a wave of MLB, NHL, MLS and WNBA teams to follow suit and opt against playing.

Officer Rusten Sheskey shot Blake in the back seven times by leaving him paralyzed from the waist down, in the city 40 miles south of Milwaukee.

The NBA would go on to postpone its playoffs for three days as players and owners worked out a series of new initiatives around criminal justice reform, voting access and civic engagement.

"It has been a very emotional time," Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. "I think when you add everything into this situation, you can understand the emotions that everyone down here is feeling. I think anytime you're away from your family for 54 days, that in and of itself, is hard. When you have the Jacob Blake shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin, as a reminder of George Floyd, a reminder of Elijah McClain, Breonna Taylor, and there's so many other names, that kind of was a boiling point."

Malone said Friday's practice was Denver's worst of his five-year tenure as players were still dealing with the emotions of the week.

Murray did his best to explain that emotion on Saturday. He didn't even need to speak to get his point across.