One of the many stars who will occupy the court during the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday in Cleveland, Ohio, will be Dejounte Murray of the San Antonio Spurs.
It’s the first All-Star selection for the 25-year-old point guard in his sixth NBA season, called upon to replace injured Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green.
Congratulations DJ!! 🎉👏
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) February 7, 2022
The selection has been a long time coming for Murray, and it’s a fact not lost on him. He shared a reflective tweet last week about his basketball journey after learning of the announcement Feb. 7.
“Wow I’m Thankful and Grateful! It’s A Reality Now,” his tweet concluded. “Thank You God”
I Remember Sitting In The Green Room And Being Judged Cause Of My Past As A Kid And The @spurs Knew I Didn’t Have Guidance And Needed A Opportunity. I Remember Tearing My ACL And People Thought It Was Over For Me. Wow I’m Thankful And Grateful! It’s A Reality Now. Thank You God🙏🏽 https://t.co/FUiieuorMj
— Dejounte Murray (@DejounteMurray) February 8, 2022
Murray quoted another tweet of his from 2015, which stated his dream to be an All-Star one day. He also referenced his troubled background growing up in Seattle, and a serious ACL tear in his right knee during a preseason game in 2018, which kept him out of the 2018-19 season.
“I got active in the streets at 11 years old,” Murray told Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes in 2020. “When I mean active in the streets, not just on the corner; they knew my name when I got on the block.”
Murray, who spent time in juvenile detention early in high school, grew from his early legal troubles into a promising basketball player. He attended the University of Washington for one season in 2015-16 before declaring for the NBA draft. Despite his talent, his background caused him to drop in the draft to the Spurs with the 29th overall pick.
“I didn’t expect to land at 29, but at the end of the day, that’s what God had written for me and I wouldn’t change it for nothing,” Murray told KENS 5 in San Antonio last week. “And I’m not saying this because of the success that I’ve had in my career, through the good and bad, but the Spurs organization was just perfect for me.”
He continued later: “It was written by God and God put [Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and I] in each other’s life for a reason.”
Murray spent a lot of time during his rookie season in the G-League as he was tasked with being the replacement for Spurs legend Tony Parker. Yet just as he was beginning to find his way in the NBA, he was confronted with one of the worst injuries for any athlete: an ACL tear. Murray did eventually make it back, and improved each of the next three seasons. Now, he’s an All-Star averaging 19.9 points, 9.3 assists, 8.3 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game.
The NBA world shared in his joy after the selection.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) February 7, 2022
Happy for my dawg! More then deserving @DejounteMurray 💯
— Zach LaVine (@ZachLaVine) February 7, 2022
Congrats killa @DejounteMurray well deserved fam! Only a few of us from the trenches with that All Star right next to your name… Keep going bro 🏁
— Isaiah Thomas (@isaiahthomas) February 7, 2022
Murray, who said he broke down in tears upon first learning of the news, was overcome with gratitude for those who’ve recognized his often difficult path to NBA stardom and helped him to be rewarded with an All-Star selection. He’s excited to get to Cleveland and experience everything the weekend has to offer.
“I’m just thankful that my peers, the coaches and even the media, you guys realize [my ability], see my growth each and every year,” he told KENS 5. “That’s huge to me, more than being an All-Star. Obviously, I know this is a huge thing, but ain’t nothing like being respected, working hard and being willing to learn.”
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God Woke Us Up Today. That Is Enough To Give Him Praise. Thank You Lord. Amen. 🙏🏽
— Dejounte Murray (@DejounteMurray) August 13, 2021
The first event of All-Star Weekend is the celebrity game on Friday at 7 p.m. ET, followed by the skills challenge, 3-point contest and dunk contest on Saturday at 8 p.m. ET. Murray and the rest of the NBA’s best will take the court in the main event on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET.
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