As previously shown, Shay Murphy will begin her coaching career with a stint with the Lakers in an associate coaching role.
Like many Los Angeles natives, Murphy grew up a Laker fan, while she dominated high school averaging 32 points and 19 rebounds.
In a narrative story told to sports journalist Lauren Brill, Murphy talks about the time when she suddenly lost her dad in an unfortunate car accident, and found Kobe Bryant as inspiration that basically changed her life.
"One day, I was playing outside and saw kids wearing these reversible jerseys, gold on the outside and purple on the inside. They told me they were going to play basketball at the YMCA. I didn’t even know what basketball was, but I knew I wanted to play too.
My mom signed me up and a few months later, Lakers rookies Derek Fisher and Kobe Bryant visited our YMCA and spoke to us. I remember I gave Derek Fisher a high five, but for some reason with Kobe, I went in for a hug. Both players made me feel special and told me to have fun, which was important for me because at that point I wasn’t very good at basketball. They made me feel like it was OK to keep coming back to the gym as long as I was enjoying myself."
This took place in 1996, when Kobe Bryant was just the brash rookie playing behind Eddie Jones. Soon after meeting her idol, Murphy started to follow Kobe's career and the Lakers closely. Following Kobe’s dedication to putting in the hard work, Murphy started to do the same, and saw herself starting to excel on the basketball court with AAU teams.
Using Bryant’s Mamba Mentality, the USC graduate excelled in basketball and eventually turned pro and played for over a decade. In an ironic twist, Kobe tragically passed away at the same age as Murphy’s father, 41, which ignited a familiar pain inside her.
Through all this, Murphy has learned to persevere and to push forward in tough times. And that seems to be what she is doing now: living the dream and getting a chance to coach one of her favorite teams growing up.