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The best Clipper to wear No. 46

It came down to two men named Murphy.

Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Clippers Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

There have only been two players to wear the No. 46 to date for the Clippers. Tod Murphy wore it all of one game back in 1988, so the honor of the best to wear the No. 46 goes to the apparently not-related Jay Murphy.

Jay Murphy grew up in New England and played college ball at Boston College, making three runs in the NCAA Tournament in four years. After his career there, he was drafted in the second round by the Golden State Warriors in 1984, but was traded straightaway to the Clippers for Jerome Whitehead.

In parts of two seasons with the Clippers, Murphy played 37 games, the 6’11 forward/center firmly a reserve who played six to seven minutes a game in his tenure in LA. Given such little playing time, Murphy’s stats didn’t really pop out, although his rookie year he averaged 1.8 rebounds a game, which is good for coming in less than seven minutes of work.

In December 1985, Murphy was waived by the Clips, his tenure with the team done. He went on to play 30 games with Washington, before heading to Europe.

Details are scarce, but Murphy appeared to play in Europe between 1989 and 1995, featuring for French and Italian teams in that time, including two teams that Tony Parker went on to play for. In Italy, he briefly played alongside Bob McAdoo, believe it or not.

Murphy married a Finnish woman who was herself a professional basketball player. Normally that would not be something to bring up in this story, except they had two sons, Erik and Alex, who are themselves professional basketball players these days, and both play for the Finnish National Team. Erik had a cup of coffee with the Chicago Bulls and has since bounced back and forth between the G League and teams around Europe, currently in Spain, while Alex has played around Europe professionally, too, and also currently plays in Spain, for another team. A third son, Tomas, has apparently just wrapped up his college career at Northeastern.

It’s hard to find highlights of Jay Murphy — I couldn’t find any from his NBA days, which isn’t altogether shocking considering he played in the 1980s — but here’s the end of a game from Italy in 1991 when Murphy scored the dramatic 3-pointer to tie up the game, before his side went on to win the game in overtime. Murphy was the leading scorer for his team (wearing white) in this game, with 34.

So Jay Murphy didn’t have a stellar NBA career, but he had one, which is more than most of us can say. A big man with an outside game, he seemed to be playing in the wrong era in the NBA for his skillset, and unsurprisingly found much more success in Europe. And his experience unquestionably helped his sons embark on pro basketball careers of their own, as he had lived through the ups and downs of a career in the game, both here and abroad. Some people dream their whole lives to play pro basketball, and Murphy accomplished that and then some.

So while it was a mere 37 games with the Clippers, that was just the start of Jay Murphy’s pro adventure. And the numbers don’t lie. To date, he’s the best to play No. 46 for the LA Clippers.