There’s a lot of great nicknames in the NBA, particularly the Western Conference. There’s Eric Gordon, aka The Hobbit, or Rudy “The Great Rudini” Gay (per Medium). Then there’s Denver’s Jamal Murray, who’s carried the moniker of Blue Arrow since his college days at Kentucky.
The nickname refers to his tradition of “firing” a bow and arrow after he makes 3-pointers. Kyle Tucker of Spanning the SEC explains how Murray earned it during his one season as a Wildcat in 2016.
Jamal Murray shot his teammate in the chest with an arrow during Saturday’s game, briefly killing him, and America loved it.
“It wasn’t really planned out, honestly,” Murray said. “It was just kind of like, ‘Next time I hit a shot, shoot him.’”
This was all an act, of course, a choreographed celebration with his Kentucky teammates after Murray hit yet another 3-pointer during a rout of LSU. It wasn’t the first time in a game that he’d pretended to pull an arrow and let it fly, but E.J. Floreal was his first victim.
Here’s the first time he loosed the arrow into a teammate’s heart. CBS’ Verne Lundquist declared, “Be still my heart!”
In his one season in Lexington, he canned 40.8 percent of his triples. Since joining the NBA in 2016, his rate has dropped to a still-solid 36.2 percent. His best outing came in 2017-18 when he connected on 37.8 percent.
This sharpshooting has led to double-digit scoring averages the last two seasons. He put together 16.7 points per game last season, and bumped that up to 18.2 points this past year. It helped Denver earn the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference Playoffs, and has the Nuggets one game away from the conference finals.
His shooting confidence is the backbone of a productive conference semifinal series versus the Trail Blazers. He posted a pair of 34-point performances in Games 3 and 4.
This is a product of constant practice on shooting form, as noted by the Denver Post in 2017.
“In the early days, we used to always work on his form with free throws and jump shots,” said Roger Murray, who describes his relationship with Jamal as father, coach, trainer and friend. “So he’d be at the free-throw line and would sometimes get frustrated because he wouldn’t make a shot.
This acumen from behind the arc, as well as the celebration, continues to this day.