Is This Child Abuse? Fans Divided as NBA Star Reveals Brutal 'Pain Tolerance' Exercise


Denver Nuggets star Jamal Murray is one win away from winning his (and his team’s) first NBA championship.

And while most accolades and coverage have justifiably been focused on Murray’s teammate and two-time league Most Valuable Player, Nikola Jokic, that’s not a slight against Murray.

Through four games in the NBA Finals, Murray has averaged a sterling 23.3 points, 10.5 assists, and 5.8 rebounds per game against the Miami Heat. Had the even more impressive Jokic (averaging 30.8 points, 13.5 rebounds and 8.0 assists per game) not been playing out of his mind, Murray would assuredly be a shoo-in for Finals MVP.

So, how did the 26-year-old Murray reach this career zenith so soon after missing a year due to a devastating ACL tear in 2021? As with most star athletes, it was a combination of hard work, dedication to a craft, and a certain degree of God-given talent.

But Murray’s upbringing also includes examples of “tough love” that has some critics decreeing it as an example of child abuse.

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This purported “child abuse” was brought up again when Murray, after a Game 3 victory on Wednesday (the Nuggets have since won again on Friday, taking a commanding 3-1 series lead in the 2023 NBA Finals) was spotted with a nasty bit of floor burn on his hand.

Given the way he was able to shake it off, ESPN reporter Malika Andrews recalled an interview with Murray where he actually specifically mentioned why “burns” are so immaterial to him.

The interview, which appears to be an older one, shows Andrews asking Murray about “pain tolerance exercises.”

Do you think “pain tolerance” exercises are child abuse?

“When you were younger, though, you used to do pain tolerance exercises and drills , didn’t you?” Andrews asked Murray in the clip. “Tell me about that.”

Murray responded by recounting one particularly brutal exercise his father subjected him to — squatting while balancing scalding hot cups of tea on each of his thighs. Murray also added that these squat exercises typically didn’t include a clock, so there was no “counting down” moments.

As anyone who has held a squat for longer than 30 seconds can tell you, that’s a whole lot of burning — even sans the hot tea.

Another exercise his father, Roger, put him through? Jamal Murray, as a child, had to clean up ice cold leaves during the fall with his bare hands.

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Looking at the responses under the Andrews’ clip, you see that the vast majority of the responses are calling Murray a “victim” and claiming his father’s training was more akin to “child abuse” than anything. (There were of course a number of excellent responses comparing Roger Murray to Mr. Miyagi from the “Karate Kid” movies.)

It’s certainly a polarizing topic, but also one that may speak more to a generational divide than anything.

People of a particular age are used to the concept of behavioral consequences that simply wouldn’t fly today.

But regardless of whether or not Roger Murray’s “training” was abusive, it’s undeniable that Jamal Murray has reaped the benefits of it today.

Of course, it’s probably much easier to accept such brutal training regiments when total victory is so nearby.

Murray, his pain tolerance, and the Denver Nuggets will have a chance to all capture their first NBA championship if they can win one more game.

Game 5 of the NBA Finals will take place on Monday, with Denver having a chance to win its first team title in front of a home crowd.

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Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than five years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics.
Bryan Chai has written news and sports for The Western Journal for more than five years and has produced more than 1,300 stories. He specializes in the NBA and NFL as well as politics. He graduated with a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona. He is an avid fan of sports, video games, politics and debate.
Class of 2010 University of Arizona. BEAR DOWN.
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