Taylor Murphy faced a career crossroads only three years ago.
After trying to further his professional basketball career in Canada, the then 24-year-old Murphy had second thoughts about continuing his career. Murphy turned inwards and relied on his faith and belief in God to make the right decision.
That decision for Murphy was to ultimately save lives and help his community by becoming a New York City firefighter. It’s been the best choice for Murphy, who has also achieved success in another area that has raised his profile.
You can find the 27-year-old Murphy’s 6’5”, 250-pound muscular frame as one of the 12 firefighters in the official 2011 FDNY Firefighters Calendar of Heroes. He’s appeared on NBC’s Today Show, WPIX Morning News, and other print and television outlets.
“I wanted to play the sport, that’s the passion that was given to me by God. I wasn’t doing basketball for anybody, just myself. But if I become a firefighter, I can risk my life to save someone’s life, or two kids’ lives, then basketball becomes non-existent.”
Murphy grew up in Belle Harbor and played the game of basketball throughout the peninsula, from the time he was little.
The Rockaway resident grew into a 6’5” 250-pound power forward, scored 25 points per game at John Adams High School, and then went on to star at Monroe Community College in Rochester and finally at Adelphi University. After one year at Adelphi, Murphy had problems transferring to Chaminade University in Hawaii.
He had started to play professionally in Nova Scotia, Canada and was en route to Ireland, when he had second thoughts about making the journey.
“It wasn’t even in my mind. I got no thoughts and then I started thinking this is a good thing. But if I got to Ireland, what will I do five or ten years after my career is over. I would have done it for the passion, not the money,” Murphy said.
When he was 22 years old and still in college, Murphy’s father, Tom, a deputy chief with the FDNY, asked him to take the test.
It was something Murphy wasn’t even considering, at the time.
“He sat me down one day and said to just take the test. I told my Dad, ‘No way I’m going to take the test, I’m going to be an NBA basketball player.’ ”
Murphy was so sure that he would make it as a player, but something told him to try the test anyway.
Even though he barely studied for the test, he did well enough to get on the waiting list and get called to join the academy when he came back to New York.
After getting adjusted to becoming a firefighter, Murphy was introduced to a man who referred him to a casting director for Diesel, a popular clothing company.
The first photo shoot convinced Murphy to continue not only modeling on the side, but also to pose for fitness magazines.
It led to his appearance in this year’s FDNY official calendar, a hot selling item in which Murphy appears as the firefighter for the month of March, posing in front of a turn-of-the-century steel rotary converter underneath Grand Central Station.
Murphy has remained humble throughout.
He remembers times growing up when, if he veered away from his goals, he might have ended up on the wrong path.
“I’ve known kids who I grew up with [who are] in jail or who have been killed. But I always stood strong in what I believed in,” Murphy said. “Those guys I knew were my friends, but they always respected me because I knew what I wanted to do. If you are strong, people will respect what you want.”
Murphy is continuing to get further opportunities in modeling and is also branching out into acting. The 27-year-old will continue to strive for success in any profession.
“It’s been fun, but I won’t let it [success] become my reality. I always had the belief, God has put me on that right path.”
Leave a Reply