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Fascinating read on Jamal Murray and his unique basketball training


Jason King over at has one of the most fascinating reads about a Kentucky basketball player in a very long time.

King looked into the background of Jamal Murray and found that his upbringing is unlike anything we’ve heard or seen. Through his father’s admiration of Bruce Lee, the Honk Kong action star, Murray took up kung fu at a young age and applies its lessons to basketball. For example, he meditates before and after every practice and game. He calls it mental kung fu.

“Sometimes I’m reflecting on a practice and things I could’ve done better,” the UK freshman told King. “Other times I’m visualizing things that will happen in a game. Having that time to myself is important. It’s a big part of who I am as a player.”

Through his meditation and kung fu training, Murray plays with a heart rate of 34 beats per minute, much lower than the normal, resting heart rate of 56 beats per minute. That enables him to keep a calm demeanor throughout entire games, no matter the intensity of the situation.

King also spoke to Jamal’s father, Roger Murray, who explained how he dedicated his life to setting Jamal up for basketball success. He canceled the family’s cable subscription service so Jamal wouldn’t be distracted by TV; took Jamal to play in pickup games with grown men; and went to extremes, like having Jamal do push-ups in the snow to develop a tolerance for pain.

Definitely take a moment this morning to read more about Murray’s lifelong training to become the star we are about to witness in Lexington.

[Zen and the Art of Making the Perfect Player: Meet Kentucky’s Jamal Murray]

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

10 Comments for Fascinating read on Jamal Murray and his unique basketball training

  1. ClutchCargo
    11:01 am November 16, 2015 Permalink

    I love Jamal, but I’m not buying that anybody can play basketball at a heart rate of 34 bpm. That makes no sense.

    • plumloopy
      11:19 am November 16, 2015 Permalink

      Yeaaahhh… something lost in communication here.

      Likely he’s able to get (as low as) 34 bpm during meditation, but a young person, especially an elite athlete, he has a HR that can go much HIGHER than normal, while his resting rate is lower than normal. Your max heart rate goes down as you age so I’m sure in times of great effort, he’s approaching 200 BPMs.

    • Mathlete
      11:31 am November 16, 2015 Permalink

      Plumloopy is right. Most UK fans don’t even watch basketball at our resting heart rates, let alone play at them (which is what the 34 bpm was in reference to). Murray’s low resting heart rate is a physical sign of his calm under demeanor, he’s not going to be prone to nerves the way a lot of freshmen are on big stages. Look for Murray and Ulis to be our glue guys this year.

    • Sublem
      12:44 pm November 16, 2015 Permalink

      Agreed, although his active (full load) heart rate is probably much lower than the average of the college athlete. so while the average would be like 200BPM, his could be about 30 below that, which sounds a bit reasonable.

  2. za
    11:55 am November 16, 2015 Permalink

    Regardless, that’s some Lance Armstrong numbers. I got a good laugh from thinking about him doing push ups in the Canadian snow. It worked out for him though!

  3. Suffering Fools
    12:12 pm November 16, 2015 Permalink


  4. nybrasky
    12:22 pm November 16, 2015 Permalink

    Let’s hope he turns out better than Todd Marinovich (I don’t actually have a concern about that).

  5. Sublem
    12:45 pm November 16, 2015 Permalink

    Me and my dad believe he is the basketball child of Brandon Knight and Steph Curry, he plays a lot like them when you combine their play styles.

  6. zod
    1:26 pm November 16, 2015 Permalink

    The Canadian ninja! I’ll bet he wears all white while push uppin’ in the snow in Canada. Ninjin’ up there is different than ninjin’ in warmer climates.

  7. chimichanga
    3:53 pm November 16, 2015 Permalink

    Pain does not exist in this dojo!