NBA Legend Tracy Murray is a long-time supporter of Sports Diplomacy. During his most recent trip to Greece as a Sports Envoy, he conducted basketball clinics and engaged in dialogue with young people on “fair play” and social justice. In 2008, Tracy went to Mozambique where he led a series of basketball sessions, visited schools, and made speeches on teamwork.
Despite the many differences between Greece and Mozambique, Tracy Murray showed the same enthusiastic leadership on both overseas Sports Envoy basketball programs.
“Both the Mozambique and Greek experiences were great to me,” says Murray. “For Mozambique, I always wanted to go (to Africa)…and I saw that they make the best of their situations with a smile on their faces. Those kids played extremely hard. Greece was different, but it hit home too. I played in Greece for two years in Thessaloniki as well as Athens. Since I lived there and worked with those kids…there was a tight connection.”
Tracy Murray demonstrates versatility, sportsmanship, and agility on and off the court. His strengths enhanced those of NBA and WNBA stars Peja Stojakovic and Ashley Robinson when the three worked together to lead the Greek basketball envoy program. After only a few days in Athens and Thessaloniki, their very presence impacted the lives of hundreds of youth. As part of the program, they participated in an event involving over 800 high school students. This activity was organized to raise awareness against human trafficking. Upon his return from Greece, Murray reflected on what he also gained from the experience.
“The most surprising thing to me is that in the U.S., human trafficking is not talked about often because of the problems with the deficit, education, war….But it's a major problem that needs to be addressed here too,” says Murray.
Overall, Murray sees great “real-world” value of participating in sports—not only for young people in Mozambique or Greece—but everywhere. Teamwork and hard work are universal assets in his eyes.
“It's very important for kids of all skill levels to play sports, because sports help you in life,” says Murray. “That's what I told all of the kids in my camps for 15 years,” says Murray. “It's like a job; the coach is your boss. You learn to be coachable and take instruction like you would do a boss. Your teammates are your co-workers. You learn to work as a team for a win or the common goal of a job.”