NBA stars exploring interests outside of the basketball court is not a new thing. Legends like Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal have previously tried alternate careers such as baseball, rapping, and DJing. Jamal Murray, a star player of the Denver Nuggets, may be the newest addition to this list seeing his recent passion for mixed martial arts (MMA).
In a recent interview with SIRIUS XM NBA Radio, the 26-year-old basketball talent openly discussed his interest in MMA. Murray said, “Yeah, I mean, that’s just a skill that if I wasn’t playing basketball, I would probably be in [MMA]. It’s my other love, I guess, for martial arts, now I’m back to working my actual job.”
“If I wasn’t playing basketball I’d probably be in [MMA].”
Jamal Murray when asked if he would take on the UFC and try to bring home a championship belt.
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPoints) October 22, 2023
It’s not just the words, Murray has displayed a glimpse of his MMA capabilities. A video of him grappling with UFC Featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski, recently went viral online. Even though he nearly being choked out by the seasoned fighter, Murray held his own.
MMA demands agility, technique, and mental toughness, which even the most physically dominant NBA players may find challenging. Regardless of the potential challenges, Volkanovski himself seemed impressed with Murray’s MMA skills.
Alexander Volkanovski faced Jamal Murray on the mat previously
The worlds of UFC and NBA collided as Alexander Volkanovski, the UFC featherweight champion, and Jamal Murray, the Denver Nuggets’ star point guard, took on a unique challenge. Although it is well-known that both the athletes are best in their fields, this crossover encounter was more than a friendly fight.
It’s interesting to think about how an NBA champion would apply his physique in the world of MMA. Murray, known for his agility on the court and dealing with towering opponents, undoubtedly entered with some confidence. But as many people know, the MMA can be unpredictable.
Though the NBA star had a significant height and weight advantage over Volkanovski, it was the UFC champ’s experience that stood out. Demonstrating his technique, Volkanovski got into a position to tap Murray with a guillotine as the 60-second challenge concluded. This mat encounter wasn’t about winning or losing, but it was proof of the unique skills required in each sport.
However, it wasn’t all one-sided. The two were clearly friendly, Murray lifted Volkanovski to make a basketball dunk. It was a playful one-on-one that showed the respect and admiration they hold for each other professions.