Friday, 6 September 2013

TRACY MURRAY Feature-MURRAY'S COURT

Tracing Murray's Career.

By TIM DAVID HARVEY.

Everyone has their heroes who they praise in this game...even if some remain relatively unsung. Through all the great talent that has come, been seen and evolved along with the changing of the ever-developing game there has been a crop of classic players to sift through the cream. Whether it be on your televisions, fantasy leagues or video games the mark of the essence of their ability is made. All kinds of great players have expressed their talent in the association. There's just too many to name or rank. There's your Michael Jordan's and your Mitch Richmond's, your Kobe Bryant's and Latrell Sprewell's and your Tracy McGrady's and Tracy Murray's. In this league they where all stars even if they didn't make mid-February. They still deserve their love like valentines...so here's another hallmark dedication to one of the games greats.

Tracy Murray was all about the three. That's how pure a player he was. Whether wearing number 35, 30, 31, or 3, from behind the arc to down two, the cult fan favourite could clutch wins away from his opponents and into the hands of his team...no matter which team it was. The 6 foot 7, 225 pound player from Los Angeles California had a fresh fade and beard cut of a Long Beach rap star, but on court is where Murray sang and laid it down over the ball to hardwood beats. Serving up his opponents like his Andy namesake in Wimbledon, games where set when the T-Murray match-up threw up the ball at his teams service. The high-school courts of Glendora taught Tracy his basketball education. His incredible 44.3 average led the nations point tally in his senior year as he amassed a grand total of 3,053 high-school points...the highest in the state. Even as a kid, this player was just a points machine. A gunner that could shoot down anybody or net on the basketball floor.

These days Murray helps broadcast for Fox Sports and the UCLA Bruins to keep close to a game he one day wants to coach pernamently. You can hear him talking about the youth and next generation of an alumni he actually is a part of. You can see his team photos in the trophy case as the campus janitor isn't the only one whose been cleaning the glass for awhile. During his time with the blue and yellow, an aspiring Murray scored a swingman perfect complete 18.3 PPG, 6.4 RPG, and 1.5 APG in his basketball statistical averages and was two time Pac-10 all conference (his half and half 50% from three led the Pac too). The UCLA college star who looks like he could be related to Jordan Farmar had a similar path, but his California vacation, took a Texas detour as the San Antonio Spurs selected him 18th overall in the 1992 draft as David Stern put it. As a Spur, Murray could have truly clicked with the admiral David Robinson, but just a week after the draft another port called Murray in.

If you thought that was crazy 'charming' then imagine being traded twice in the same day, but that's what happened to Tracy as he headed to Milwaukee for Dale Ellis and was then dealt up north to Portland for a Trail Blazing career as he was swapped for Alaa Abdelnaby. He found his range and his home in the Midwest Portland trail, blazing the league with his lightening bright three-point explosions. He paced the entire league with a three point percentage of 45.9% in the 1993/1994 season proving he hadn't lost that touch from his step behind the arc at college. The young man matured in the league but still kept that youthful fire when it came down to the embers of the shot or game clock. His shot in Portland was so much of a bullseye it should have come with a Jordan shrug.

A bow-tied, gift-wrapped perfect package of Murray and M.J. like great Clyde Drexler was then delivered and propelled on a glide to the Houston Rockets for Otis Thorpe and other shipping costs. A championship ring came in the post season too via a special delivery. The only problem forecasted in Houston was time as Murray only played 25 games before being stole away in the expansion draft by the NBA's new Canada team, the Toronto Raptors. Far from cold or extinct however Murray played his best basketball in the great city of Toronto. His statistical output of 16.2 PPG, 1.6 APG and 4.3 RPG was more than average as this guy proved he could score big and facilitate his court comrades scores. Murray had some rebound mound in him too. It was all looking good for the new raw Raps and their seasoned vet. That was until he was clawed away from the NBA's Jurassic Park by a lucrative contract from the capital city of the United States.

Murray's shot with the Washington Bullets reloaded his career. The tricks of his trade brought change. The D.C. team made a stand against it's cities growing gang and gun culture by getting their Harry Potter on and changing their name to the Washington Wizards with a flick of the wand. Murray had some spells on the court too in the journeymans four year break in White House town. Back in the playoffs since his Portland days his stepped up output of 18.3 PPG, 0.7 APG and 3.0 RPG was really an upgrade from his raw talent spare change numbers with the trail. A embattled half century game in a fight with the Warriors of Golden State proved Murray was not just a big-time scorer, but a big time player. Far from a point gun for hire, Murray is one of only six Washington players ever to hit the big 50 or more. With Wizard great Gilbert Arenas and the greatest of all-time Michael Jordan being in the six-shooter chamber of these Bullets that's some big shot company.

Changing altitudes, Murray's strong attitude withstood another move as he mined some time with the Denver Nuggets. Unlucky for some though after just 13 games, Murray was passed around like basketball currency and found himself back in Toronto just like the good old times. Murray logged the equivalent of a good season or so for the T-Dot Raps before he was out again. The L.A. king returned home and to the STAPLES centre of Los Angeles as he played for the wood-floor team, otherwise known as Hollywood's biggest show. Traded with the draft rights of Kareem Rush for Lindsey Hunter, the purple and gold of the Lakers uniform seemed like the perfect fit and California love for the Los Angeles born and bred basketball pedigree but after one good season he was back in the trade bait dog house again.

Back in Portland for a weeks worth of games, Tracy Murray closed out his NBA career with the team he stared his playing time with. The man who was a victim of the continuity and cohesive effects of being an NBA journeyman (I mean come on he was traded twice in one day), was also guilty of being one of the best of his time. Tracy's journey didn't end with the NBA however as he travelled even further after being released by the New York Knicks without sadly ever playing a game. Panathinaikos Athens and PAOK Thessaloniki of Greece where the names of the foreign teams Murray played for before saying 'au revoir' to his playing days in France. Now with father time in the playbook, Tracy-like any good man-has dedicated his retired life to family, as well as a basketball camp in his old high-school.

You can still see Tracy Murray about and in and around the big stage too. He'll be in attendance for friend and fellow underrated NBA great Mitch Richmond's 'M Rock Life' foundation anti-bullying, all-star charity game. Who knows maybe he'll suit up himself. The analyst with dreams of being a coach has dry-erased some time with the NBA's D-league's Bakersfield Jam too in development of his new dream career. Now how about an and one? Something else too? This Summer he's also joined the streetball leagues coaching the exciting 'Ball Up' basketball squad who are looking to skip to the Lou of the playground legends and take the concrete play of the playground to the hardwood floors of inside public paid and viewed hoops. The cousin of former Clipper Lamond Murray and former Knick and hot-shooter Allan Houston is widening his view on the sport to make it as diverse and complete as his actual game was. The guy who moved around a lot in his career is going all sorts of place post-playing as more doors are opening in retirement following the closing of his locker and hanging up of his sneakers. One of the all-round underrated greats is really making a name for himself and it's clear the guy is always going to be around. This mans journey isn't over yet...and it won't be until he finds an NBA team he's happy to stick with and call home and plays from the sidelines. Expect Tracy Murray to be a household name then.

6 comments:

  1. very good article Mr Harvey

    ReplyDelete
  2. It was a pleasure reading this article.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a pleasure reading this gracious comment...thank you!

      Delete
  3. Inside - outside and all around the "Hoops" your impressive article brings important details and well deserved accolades for Tracy Murray's career both High School, NBA, Post NBA - 14 years of highly successful Glendora Boys and Girls Basketball Camps, Broadcaster, Mentor, Friend, Brother, Son, Husband and Father... truly a "class act." Tracy's "Road" in life was and is, as a leader of major inspiration and example to both young and old while exuding pure sportsmanship. Tracy always wears an unforgettable smile, while extending a genuine glad to meet you...handshake and hug. Your research and details is applauded, I am sure, by the many that respect and love Tracy L. Murray. Thank you Mr Tim David Harvey, loved your article.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for your beautiful comment. It's making me learn even more how good a plaer and man Tracy Murray was and is. I wish I knew all your names to thank you personally.

      Delete