Murphy — whose WNBA career ended in 2017 — joins new additions John Lucas III and David Fizdale alongside the returning Phil Handy, Mike Penberthy, Quinton Crawford and Miles Simon on head coach Frank Vogel’s bench.
The Lakers have added former WNBA player Shay Murphy as a coaching associate, sources told ESPN. The L.A.-area native attended USC and had a pro career that spanned more than a decade overseas and in the WNBA, where she won a title with Phoenix in 2014. pic.twitter.com/CSzkd7pw0F— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) October 3, 2021
Murphy appears to be the first woman hired to a coaching role in Lakers history, and is one of just a handful in NBA history. As McMenamin’s picture shows, she is already with the team for training camp.
Coaching associates are not full-fledged assistant coaches, and can often be seen working with players during their pregame and practice routines. Still, it is unknown exactly what role Murphy will specifically serve on the coaching staff, as the team has yet to publicly confirm the hire and Vogel plays his assistant’s roles close to the vest anyway, always saying that he prefers to let everyone contribute to everything.
But regardless of what role she ultimately plays, working for the Lakers will be the fulfillment of a childhood dream. In a pre-draft Q&A with WNBA.com from 2007, Murphy revealed that she didn’t start playing basketball until she was 12 years old, when she saw kids wearing Lakers-colored jerseys from their YMCA teams.
“They all had purple shorts with the gold Lakers sign on them. I thought those were so cool. I wanted one of the jerseys,” Murphy said then. “My mom said, OK, you have to choose (basketball or karate). And I said, I want that, and that’s how I started playing basketball, and I still have my yellow junior Lakers jersey.”
It may not be a jersey, but now she has the real team gear, too.
This developing story may be updated with more information. For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.