- NBA champion Jamal Murray won’t be playing in the 2023 FIBA Men’s World Cup due to recovery needs after his impressive playoffs.
- Murray’s decision comes after leading the Denver Nuggets to their first NBA title alongside Nikola Jokic.
- Canada’s basketball hopes are affected as Murray’s absence impacts their World Cup start against France on August 25.
The 2023 FIBA Men’s World Cup will not feature star guard Jamal Murray, who recently won an NBA title with the Denver Nuggets, Canada Basketball stated on Wednesday.
The 26-year-old, who missed the team’s exhibition games last week against Germany, said in a statement that his body was ultimately unable to perform at the highest level after his last game, which was the NBA Finals to finish a gruelling playoff run, occurred little over two months ago.
Murray in the official announcement stated, “In discussions with the medical personnel and the team, it has become evident that I need more time to recover. Consequently, I have taken the challenging choice to withdraw from the tournament.”
He added, “My aspiration to represent Canada in the Olympics remains unwavering, and I will wholeheartedly back the team throughout their journey towards achieving this objective.”
Following an outstanding postseason run with the Nuggets, Murray showcased an elevated performance, maintaining an impressive average of more than 26 points for the second consecutive playoff season. Teaming up with Finals MVP Nikola Jokic, they steered Denver to secure the franchise’s inaugural NBA championship, with Murray’s achievement making him the ninth Canadian in history to proudly hoist the coveted Larry O’Brien trophy.
Yet, this remarkable streak will be offset by the fact that the native of Kitchener, Ontario, will not be able to don the jersey for what was anticipated to be the most formidable Canadian basketball line-up ever constructed. This is especially hard to accept for the Canadian squad, which harboured dreams of Olympic participation, a feat they have not achieved since the year 2000.
“Following extensive deliberations spanning the past few weeks with Jamal and our team’s medical experts, it became evident that additional recovery and rehabilitation would hinder Jamal’s inclusion in our roster for the forthcoming FIBA Men’s Basketball World Cup,” remarked Canadian General Manager Rowan Barrett.
“With just over a week until we tip-off at the World Cup…we will be working through our remaining practice and exhibition game schedule to prepare us for the tournament-opening game against France.”
The first game of the World Cup, between Canada and France, is scheduled to begin on August 25. They will then get ready for their group stage opponents, a depleted Latvian team and Lebanon.