If you played organized athletics growing up, you’re probably all too familiar with the Sports Dads who had a tendency to get a bit too intense and invested in the outcome of games involving a bunch of kids who were probably more interested in getting McDonald’s or ice cream after them.
LaVar Ball is the consummate example of the kind of person I’m talking about: a Basketball Dad who obviously wanted to live vicariously through (and steal some of the spotlight from) the three sons who were pushed to play the sport from a young age and had a father who did everything in his power to see them play at its highest level.
Parents that fall into that particular category may have good intentions, but their obsession with their children’s success can often go a bit too far thanks to the physical and mental toll the “tough love” approach they frequently deploy can take in the long run.
I’m sure Jamal Murray would be the first person to credit his father Roger for helping him make it to the NBA; based on what he’s said in the past, he loved basketball from a young age and credits his dad for helping him develop his game to point where he was able to play at the University of Kentucky before being drafted by the Nuggets with the seventh overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.
Murray’s squad took a 2-1 lead over the Heat in the NBA Finals with a 104-93 victory in Game 3, although he suffered a bit of a setback thanks to the gnarly “floor burn” he found himself dealing with after falling onto the court during the contest.
It doesn’t seem like Murray is particularly concerned about that ailment, as he’s apparently pretty used to discomfort based on an interview he conducted with Malika Andrews where he said his dad had him do “pain tolerance” drills growing up that involved balancing cups of hot tea on his quads and picking up leaves in frigid weather to increase his mental fortitude.
Jamal Murray sustained a bad floor burn in Game 3.
When he was younger, his dad would have him do pain tolerance drills — including balancing cups of hot tea on his quads while holding a squat — to prepare for moments like this. From NBA Today: pic.twitter.com/q7WNTrLAPt
— Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) June 8, 2023
However, that revelation didn’t exactly sit well with plenty of people who questioned if Murray’s dad went a bit too far with what many of them characterized as borderline (if not outright) abuse.
This isn’t something we should be condoning or highlighting tbh
— Pistol Pete⏱ (@PeteOfTheMoment) June 9, 2023
So abuse. His dad would abuse him under the guise of training. https://t.co/pUXgLUhJy8
— Mehmet Okurrrt (@Natural_OneDurr) June 8, 2023
Why we normalizing abuse just because he is good at putting ball in hoop
— Aadan (@JMurrayWrld) June 8, 2023
“To prepare for moments like this” his dad abused him and manipulated him to justify it Jesus.
Imagine all the kids who go through this and don’t reach the success Jamal does. https://t.co/guRizUsSi2
— RB (@RyB_311) June 8, 2023
*ringing up child protective services*
— Attorney@Law (@TheGlare_TM) June 8, 2023
It may have worked out in the end, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a good blueprint to follow.