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GAMING & ESPORTS

The Sharpshooter: Jamal Murray Talks Call of Duty & Comeback

The Denver Nuggets point guard is highly regarded for his shooting prowess and mindfulness. Off the court, both attributes enhance his other craft: gaming.

Jamal Murray is a sniper.

Turning NBA arenas into shooting ranges, the Denver Nuggets guard has made scoring a lethal art. It’s well-reported that Murray’s unshakable focus stems from breathing exercises and plenty of preparation. In turn, Murray turns playoff games into target practice, able to zone in on the basket and blaze the net, no matter the moment.

While minutes of meditation and hours in the gym guide Murray in his professional craft, it’s a hobby he picked up as a child that brings the balance off of it.

“I’ve always been a gamer,” Murray told Boardroom. “I played every game growing up. I had every PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo 64, Gamecube. I played Super Smash Bros and all the throwbacks.”

From Fortnite to 2K, you can catch Murray getting busy on the sticks. However, it’s the sharpshooter’s favorite franchise that best mirrors his mindset on court: Call of Duty.

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Having sold over 400 million games from PC to PlayStation, Call of Duty claims a community of over 100 million online players. This, of course, includes Murray, who recently went head-to-head with Stephen Jackson while wrapping up an episode of All the Smoke.

“It keeps my focus and my awareness,” Murray said of COD. “It’s something I like to do on my off days to relax and lock in.”

While Murray made noise for sniping Stak 5 with a throwing knife during their Showtime showdown, the game has provided Murray with stillness and solace since going under the knife last April.

Rehabbing from an ACL injury that’s left him sidelined for months, Murray is hard at work to get back on the court. When he’s put in his work in the gym, firing up Call of Duty keeps him from overdoing it as his body heals.

“When you’re icing your leg? I can play some Warzone and use it when I’m recovering as an excuse not to get off the couch,” Murray said.

Like hoops, Murray sees Call of Duty as a craft. With the launch of Call of Duty: Vanguard and Pacific Warzone, the kid once known to game for hours at a time is able to connect to his curiosity and competitiveness through COD.

“I’ll be scheming and strategizing, trying different methods and tactics,” Murray said. “It’s just fun to get better at things and grow. Like any game, you get better and you learn more. I’m still getting used to all the guns. You’ve got throwing knives, grenades, there’s so many different ways to make noise in the game.”

Beloved for his bow and arrow act in NBA arenas, Murray has used Call of Duty to stay sharp in his off time. Just the same, it’s kept him connected to his childhood friends back home above the border. Murray was raised in Ontario and made it a point to buy his friends PS5s for Christmas to keep close despite the distance from Denver.

“All the way back in Canada I have friends who I play a lot with,” Murray said. “We keep in touch that way. I’m competitive, I like to win, but I’ll definitely have those days where I’m on the mic with my friends just laughing and we won’t get any wins.”

Catching Murray in chill mode might be good for online gamers, but don’t expect that same energy on the court.

With Murray expected to return to the Nuggets soon, more wins are in sight.

Right now, Denver holds the 6 seed in the Western Conference, but the Nuggets’ position can change by the day. With teammate Nikola Jokić playing at an MVP level for the second straight season, Murray is poised to bring both his game and his gaming system as he comes back.

“I’m with my PS5 a lot,” Murray said. “I’m always on the road with it. I bring it everywhere.”

So, what can fans expect from Murray in Call of Duty and in the NBA moving forward?

“A whole lot more sniper kills, a lot of threes,” Murray said. “Me shooting from distance in the game and on the court.”

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