Jamal Murray: Shoes Honoring George Floyd, Breonna Taylor Provide Power to Fight

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistAugust 31, 2020

The shoes of Denver Nuggets' Jamal Murray are seen during the second  quarter of Game 5 of the team's NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Utah Jazz, Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Mike Ehrmann/Pool Photo via AP)
Mike Erhmann/Associated Press

Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray used his platform following an incredible performance in Game 6 of his team's first-round playoff series to continue the fight against police brutality and systemic racism and honor George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

Murray conducted an emotional postgame interview and explained he drew strength from his shoes, one of which had a picture of Floyd and one of which had a picture of Taylor.

"These shoes mean a lot," he said. "I just want to win. In life, you find things that hold value to you and things to fight for. And we found something we're fighting for as the NBA, as a collective unit. I use these shoes as a symbol to me to keep fighting all around the world. So like I said, they give me a lot of power to keep fighting."

On the court, Murray helped his team force a Game 7 against the Utah Jazz behind 50 points on 17-of-24 shooting from the field and 9-of-12 shooting from three-point range during the 119-107 victory Sunday.

"These shoes give me life," he said after that showing. "Even though these people are gone, they give me life, they help me find strength to keep fight in this world."

Murray further spoke on the matter during his postgame media session:

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The performance and comments came after he started his media availability Saturday by placing the shoes on a stool and walking off. "How long was that? Two minutes?" he asked at the time. "One person on those shoes had a knee on their neck for eight. You just got to think about that."

This was Denver's first game since play stopped inside the Walt Disney World bubble as players considered their next options and whether they would even finish the playoffs in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Players on the Milwaukee Bucks elected not to play in Wednesday's contest against the Orlando Magic, and players on the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder soon chose the same path in their game later that afternoon, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium.

The league eventually postponed all three Wednesday playoff games, as well as the scheduled games for Thursday and Friday.

Players met inside the bubble to discuss their options, and Bleacher Report's Taylor Rooks reported there was a sense that "many players believed that leaving the bubble would take away their platform and felt that real change and awareness can come from working in Orlando on this big stage."

Murray used the big stage he created for himself with a stunning offensive performance to continue the fight for social justice going into Tuesday's Game 7.