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Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Nuggets PG Jamal Murray share same admiration for Bruce Lee

Jamal Murray

No one would figure Los Angeles Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Denver Nuggets Jamal Murray would have many similarities apart from being NBA players. However, the two do share quite a unique quality in terms of their mutual admiration of the great Bruce Lee, as ESPN’s Michael Huang reveals.

Abdul-Jabbar became a martial arts enthusiast during his youth and was pointed toward Lee’s direction. The two eventually hit it off, so much so that Abdul-Jabbar famously starred in one of Lee’s films, “Game of Death.”

The Lakers icon also revealed how Lee helped him become a basketball player, particularly in terms of perfecting his signature move.

“His focus and dedication made me work harder,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “Bruce created a jambalaya of martial arts, adding and discarding moves that were less effective. No wasted movement…  The skyhook is the embodiment of an efficient shot that requires minimal movement but sudden speed.”

The same could be said of Murray, whose father was an avid fan of Lee’s. He also used some of Lee’s famous traits, namely his mental strength and preparation, as an inspiration which he has attempted to translate into his game.

“[Lee’s] attitude and his mental preparation and his mental toughness are what I took from him into basketball,” Murray said.

It’s amazing to realize that decades after inspiring one of the greatest basketball players ever in Abdul-Jabbar, Lee is posthumously still inspiring young people like Murray even to this day, which is a true sign of his greatness.