A 6-foot-7 small forward, he could operate anywhere on the floor, had a sweet left-handed jumper, and was big enough and quick enough to guard multiple positions.
The Clippers nabbed the All-American from Cal-Berkeley with the seventh overall pick in the 1994 Draft and he would go on to play five of his 11 NBA seasons in Los Angeles, including a surprising run to the playoffs in 1996-97.
Clippers.com was able to catch up with Murray at the Los Angeles Clippers Foundation Charity Golf Classic.
Clippers.com: Talk about your experience of playing three years at Cal-Berkeley.
Lamond Murray: It was a great experience. What can I say? Nobody expected us to do much of anything and then during my sophomore year we took off and the rest was history as far as Cal was concerned.† I enjoyed itóthose three years there.
Your last season at Cal was the 1993-94 season. Heading into that year, you probably had a ton of expectations, right?
LM: Yeah, we did. We knew we had a good team, an experienced team. We went deep into the NCAA Tournament the year before (losing to Kansas in the Sweet 16) and we just knew when we were back thereóďAlright, weíre good the first two game easily.Ē And it didnít work like that. (Cal lost in the opening round to 12th seeded Wisconsin-Green Bay, 61-57)
You were picked seventh overall in 1994 by a Clippers team that had obviously struggled the season before. Can you talk about your experience playing with the Clippers?
LM: Well, it was a great learning experience, especially my first year coming in as a rookie. Guys that are there before youíve gotten there, they know a little bit more about what youíre about to experience, a grueling 82-game season. That was more games in one season than I played in my whole college career put together in eight months. So, the grind and the wear and tear on your body, learning to get rest and learning to play as hard as you can every day no matter what, no matter how you feel. All those experiences go a long way. And also the losing.
Losing was a new experience for you as well?
LM: Yeah, that was a new experience as well. The losing is something that can change your mindset on different things and you can lose some confidence. At the top level itís a lot harder for one guy to go out there and make a difference. If you are able to do that, youíre one of the greatest.
A few years later in 1996-97, the Clippers had a pretty young team but you still put together a decent run to get into the playoffs. Talk about playing with a lot of guys that are 25 or younger and kind of growing up together to a certain extent.
LM: We had some guys on our team that had come from winning teams, for example, Malik Sealy from Indiana, they were winning in the East.† He came to our team. Pooh Richardson was with him on the same team in Indiana, so we had some guys that were peppered in there with some of the younger guys like me. And we were just out there and put it all together. It was a good mix.
The coach (Bill Fitch), of course, he had a wealth of talent, a wealth of knowledge. And he was able to help mold a lot of the things that we were doing, putting us in some offensive sets that complimented everybody as a whole, instead of just focusing on one or two guys. We actually played the triangle offense. A lot of people donít know that, but that year we played it. The ball was moving a lot more than the year or two years before.
I think that was the main difference, why we were able to step in that year and play well. And then after that, different things went on and we went back to ground zero.
Looking back on your time with the Clippers (1994-99), what is the most memorable moment?
LM: The most memorable thing is just being with a group of young guys and learning so much about yourself, learning so much about teamwork and learning so much about the business of basketball. Because no matter what we did, things still occurred that had to do with the business side in terms of players who were brought on board, coaches that came after our first coach was gone. Just a lot of ups and downs. You learn a lot. For me, I learned a lot just being in that situation, year-in-and-year-out for the first five years of my career. It kind of helped me throughout the later parts of my career.
Was Loy Vaught one of the main leaders for you?
LM: Yeah. Loy, he anchored us big time, with the rebounding he was doing and the defense he played. You know, he could always hit that shot on the baseline in the corner every time.
He had a corner hot spot?
LM: Yeah. He had that hot spot, you knew he was there, he would shoot it and ahhh, itís over. Forget about it. Weíd be laughing, ĎOh, thatís good!í They get a hand up, and itís still good.
We had those veteran guys like that. Malik Sealy like I said. He played great defense for us.
Bill Fitch, of course. He helped me with my shooting because he had worked with Larry Bird and all those guys in the past and he had some great small forwards that he worked with in Houston, like Rodney McCray. [Fitch] helped me out as far as learning different aspects of the game and helped me with my jumper. He showed me a few things to get the shot off quicker. And Iím able to use that now when I talk to my kid. He plays basketball.
How old is your son?
LM: Heís 17 now. Heís playing high school level, so I help him with his jumper and I show him all the shooting techniques and drills that Bill Fitch used to teach me back in the days.
Everything you learned you are trying to pass on to the next generation?
LM: It makes sense once you look back at it and go, ĎAhh, it does make sense.í You never knew. At the time, maybe I would say, ĎMy game is just right, donít worry about it. Iím good. Donít worry about.í
You played in Bahrain recently. Are you going back?
LM: I played there for two years, but no, Iíll be here. I recently started my company, Real Run Academy.
What is your company all about?
LM: We do P.E. classes for some schools - private schools and charter schools. We take the kids out to the fields and show them how to socialize and stay fit. We have lesson plans we put them through from kindergarten all the way to 12th grade.
So thatís what Iíve been doing recently.
Did you just start the company this year?
LM: Yeah. We started that up six months ago. Right now, we have everything in place. We have some kids that are signing up now to take them throughout the rest of the school year, and weíll go from there.