Atlanta Hawks star Dejounte Murray started his career with the San Antonio Spurs.
While with the organization he got an up-close-and-personal look at the franchise’s biggest cornerstone at the time, Kawhi Leonard.
Although both Murray and Leonard subsequently left San Antonio over the years, the former’s impression of the latter always remained the same.
This past week Murray appeared on the ‘All The Smoke’ podcast and offered his thoughts on Leonard and the impact he had on his career.
“Kawhi is the reason why I made that all-defensive team my second year,” Murray said.
“He came to me and he was like bro, don’t worry about getting 15, 20 points, go make the all-defensive team. He told me that Year 2, I guarantee if you make that, now you’ll get on the court, defense gets you on the court, especially in San Antonio.
“So go make that all-defensive team now you stamped yourself. You can play D, so now they gotta have you on the floor. So if you on the floor, your ass gonna have to be able to play offense too.”
Beyond that, Murray also found Leonard’s work ethic extremely inspiring.
“Other than that, I watched him show up every single day,” the Hawks star continued.
“Off days, game days, before, all of that, putting in work, 20 or 30 minutes. That’s all he wanted to do. So for me, this MF a Finals MVP, DPOY, All-Star, but he’s in the gym like he ain’t got none of that. So I saw that and was like I got no excuse be.”
Murray made headlines late last week for some critical comments he made regarding Tony Parker in the same interview.
Stephen A. Smith says it’s obvious who the best team in the NBA is right now. https://t.co/8x9wAVyMtE
— Game 7 (@game7__) January 22, 2023
So based on that, it’s clear he isn’t afraid to ruffle any feathers.
If he is speaking this glowingly about Leonard, you know he means it.
Murray is one of the premiere talents in the NBA today, and it’s great that he acknowledges Leonard’s part in helping him ascend to that plateau.