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Kenyon Martin, legendary player and Big3’s coach

Do you sometimes remember the anthological 2001/2002 season where the Lakers and Kings played the final game in Western Conference in NBA? The team from La led by O’Neil and Bryant made a fantastic comeback and beat very good Sacramento with 4-3 in the classic Series.

Well, the Lakers faced in the big final after that Nets and pulled out an easy victory for the title. However, one of the most important figures in that campaign in New Jersey was a power forward Kenyon Martin. Kenyon was a leader of the roster together with famous playmaker Jason Kidd during those years. Let’s see the story about a former player and coach in Big3.

What did Kenyon’s college days look like?

Going to the University of Cincinnati and representing their basketball team looked promising for young Kenyon. However, Martin felt emotionally distressed away from his home, so his mother and sister needed to persuade him to continue to finish college.

In his senior year, Kenyon Martin scored 18.9 points, grabbed 9.7 rebounds, and made 3.5 blocks per game. Good player’s performances were stopped with him breaking his leg which kept him out of the NCAA tournament that season.

However, the hero of today’s story is remembered as a player with the highest number of blocked shots and the best field goal percentage in Cincinnati’s team history.

In which team did Kenyon have a debut appearance in NBA?

Getting picked by New Jersey as a first overall pick at the 2000 NBA Draft was not a surprise if we know how Kenyon performed for Cincinnati Bearcats.

In rookie season, Martin was included in NBA Rookie First Team and ended second in the race for best rookie of the 2001/2002 campaign.

Huge motivation Kenyon got from his debut in 2000/2001, so he raised the level of individual performance scoring 14.9 points and grabbing 5.3 rebounds per game. His Nets reached the final of the most interesting national basketball league where they were beaten by the mighty Lakers.

The same level of competition Kenyon and his squad played the next year, but San Antonio was better with 4-2. Martin was improving his numbers scoring 16.7 points in 2003 and 2004.

Which station was next in Martin’s path through the most popular league?

New Jersey sent Martin before the start of the 2004/2005 season to Denver, so Kenyon performed for the Nuggets in 70 games. His average number of points and rebounds was 15.5 and 7.3, respectively. Injuries and clash with coach George Carl marked his time spent in Colorado during seven seasons.

Martin was a great shot blocker with freakish athleticism and play under the rim.

Where the road took Martin after his experience in Colorado?

Nba Lockout in 2011 and Martin’s status as an unrestricted free agent were two facts that pushed him to look for a playing environment somewhere else.

After watching all received offers, Kenyon chose the Chinese league as a perfect place for his improvement. Putting his signature on a deal with team Xinjiang reportedly made him the players with the highest earnings in the history of the Chinese league.

Despite that, wearing Xinjiang’s jersey lasted only one season in which Kenyon averaged 13.9 points and 9.7 rebounds per game.

According to experts, one of the biggest Martin’s problems in his career were his injuries.

What was the third team for Kenyon in NBA?

Following his departure from China, Kenyon agreed with a less popular team from Los Angeles – La Clippers on February 3, 2012. Martin refused more lucrative contracts so he would be able to play regularly. In the first game in Clippers’ jersey ex-Denver power forward had 6 points and 4 rebounds on his individual score sheet in a defeat against Cleveland Cavaliers.

A team from LA ended the campaign in the Western Conference Semifinals losing to powerful San Antonio with 4-0. However, their new signing averaged 5.2 points and 4.3 rebounds throughout 42 games.

What happened with the former New Jersey player after leaving Los Angeles?

After parting ways with La Clippers, Kenyon joined New York’s squad on a 10-day contract on February 21, 2013. Martin got to play again together with his former teammate Jason Kidd. The roster of the team was weakened by the absence of center Tyson Chandler, so Martin’s arrival to Big Apple was greeted warmly by fans and coaching staff.

In the first season, Kenyon Martin scored 7.2 points and grabbed 5.3 rebounds for the Knicks helping them to reach the semifinal of the Eastern Conference.

Subsequently, Martin’s average points and rebounds in 2013/2014 dropped to 4.3 and 4.2, respectively.

Which club was last for ex-Denver’s power forward in NBA?

Following two seasons spent in Big Apple, ex Denver’s power forward signed for Milwaukee on January 29, 2015.

A period spent in Milwaukee was short-termed as his final game was in a victory over Raptors on February 2, 2015. Kenyon Martin went to score 4 points and grab 3 rebounds in that fixture, but later was waived by Milwaukee Bucks. Overall, Martin recorded 1.8 points and 1.7 rebounds per game during 11 games.

The 38-year-old hero of today’s story retired from professional basketball on July 3, 2015.

Which team did Kenyon choose to play for in Fireball?

Martin was interested to continue playing, so the spectators who liked him could enjoy more in his skills more.

The perfect option for Kenyon was joining Big3, Ice Cube’s, and Jeff Quatinetz’s masterpiece, ahead of the debut season of this competition. Signing with team Trilogy and getting teammates Al HarringtonRashad McCantsJames White, and Dion Glover was something new for ex-New York’s power forward.

Ending the regular part of the season with a perfect 8-0 score and beating 3 Headed Monsters in the final of the play-off was like a dream come true for Kenyon Martin. Along with winning a trophy in Fireball, the Big3 league named him as a Player Captain of the Year.

How did Kenyon handle the pressure of winning trophies in Big3 after 2017?

Trilogy was not able to pick players from the Draft since they won the competition the year earlier. Dahntay Jones strengthened his already strong roster hoping that the perfect result will be repeated.

Surprisingly, Kenyon’s team suffered five defeats in a race to a playoff which enabled them to get there. Martin was very disappointed and demotivated after such a heartbreaking scenario. Only condolence came from the fact that his teammate Al Harrington was the best scorer in the league with 18 points per game.

What was Martin’s role in Fireball in 2019?

Everybody remembers Kenyon’s contribution in the 2017 Season when Trilogy when Martin scored 14 points, 11 rebounds, and 6 assists throughout 5 fixtures.

However, the hero of today’s story changed 3×3 playing for a coaching career ahead of the start of the 2019 season. Taking charge of Trilogy was a brave step and decision for such an experienced figure that played under Rick Mahorn in 2017.

Patrick O’BryantSam Young, and Carlos Arroyo were picked from the Draft and joined by Jason TerryJames White, and David Hawkins. However, finishing the campaign with a 4-4 score was not something spectators counted on.

We can get the impression from his playing career that Kenyon is always close to winning the trophy, but never actually manages to do that. What is the real reason behind these scenarios? Poor psychological preparation, lack of concentration in deciding moments of games, or something else? Nobody can answer precisely that interesting question.

On the other hand, Martin tested his coaching skills in the most popular national 3×3 league in the world – Fireball. His only season can be evaluated and considered as average if we know how many successes had Trilogy without him on the bench. Is he going to become the “guy with the trophy” one day? We hope so.

About the author

Marjan Nikolic

Passionate sports guy, coming from the eastern Europe where best basketball is played (yeah, I know you will not agree!). Dynamic 3x3 basket has special place in my heart.

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