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Dejounte Murray’s transformative influence on the Atlanta Hawks

2023 NBA Playoffs - Boston Celtics v Atlanta Hawks Photo by Adam Hagy/NBAE via Getty Images

Dejounte Murray joined rookie Mouhamed Gueye this past Sunday in the ZekeEnd, a pro-am basketball tournament held each summer in Tacoma, Washington. Murray’s team, Team F.O.E., faced off against Slow Grind, a team featuring Isaiah Thomas and Michael Porter Jr., a longtime friend of Trae Young. Team F.O.E. put on an incredible display in a double-overtime win that would crown them as the tournament champions.

However, the outcome of the game didn’t matter for Atlanta Hawks’ fans. Experienced players going out of their way to support young talents can be critical for a player’s development. After the game, Murray had this to say on his Instagram story:

On that same token, the Hawks’ backcourt seems to recognize the immense potential within Mouhamed Gueye. The willingness of Dejounte Murray to journey to Washington to foster early chemistry not only speaks volumes about his character, but also his regard for Gueye’s abilities on the court. Speaking on his From the Point podcast, Trae Young expressed his anticipation to play with Gueye, and shed light on Snyder’s eagerness to use him as well. The enthusiasm shared by fans, players, and the head coach is a promising sign for the soon-to-be 22 year-old rookie.

When you take a deep dive into the team-friendly contract Murray inked with the Hawks a month ago, it’s nearly impossible to question character as he sacrificed a huge potential extension to put the team first. But it doesn’t stop there. As lovetolive10 stated in an Instagram post, “He literally paid for 4,000 people to attend the ZekeEnd tournament this weekend…He took his whole squad out for dinner last night and even paid for all his people and random people at the restaurant.” On top of that, Murray also gave away his shoes to a young fan after the game.

As Michael Pina wrote on Sports Illustrated, “‘His age belies his maturity,’ Popovich says. ‘Sometimes I’ve been too hard on him—not nearly as hard as I ever was on Tony Parker, that’s for sure. But he handles coaching. He’s not affected by criticism.’”

As any basketball fan knows, words like these from the great Gregg Popovich carry significant weight. San Antonio, as well as Popovich’s coaching style, can be known to make-or-break players. That’s why players who embrace the culture, like Murray, end with long, successful NBA careers.

The thread of Murray’s character extends beyond a singular event. His role in reaching out to Kobe Bufkin after the draft and his supportive presence during Summer League amplifies his commitment to the Hawks organization. In Dejounte Murray, the Hawks have an All-Star caliber player and a cream-of-the-crop leader. With his selflessness and dedication to winning in perfect alignment with Fields and Snyder, a distinctive culture is taking shape within the Hawks organization.