Happy Birthday to Kenyon Martin, 39, who stands as one of the most exciting players in New Jersey Nets franchise history.
Martin was the no. 1 overall pick by the Nets out of the University of Cincinnati in the 2000 NBA Draft and is the reason why many Nets fans are fans today — including myself. The power forward played with an extreme amount of passion, intensity, and energy that caught the attention of many eyes to go along with his rim-rattling dunks and hard-nosed attitude.
During his wonderful rookie season with the Nets, Martin averaged 12 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks per game earning his way to NBA All-Rookie First Team.
In the summer of 2001, the Nets traded for Jason Kidd to pair with Martin and the two formed one of the best duos in the NBA and transformed the franchise forever. K-Mart and Kidd would team up for many highlight alley-oops that electrified the crowd in New Jersey, leading a 26-win team to a franchise-record 52 wins the following season.
But, most importantly, Martin would help lead the Nets to back-to-back NBA Finals appearances against the Los Lakers Lakers and San Antonio Spurs in the 2001-2002 and 2002-2003 seasons. Although the Nets came up short both times, they’re considered two of the best years in franchise history and they’ve failed to get back to the Finals since.
In the 2004 season, and his last with the Nets, Martin posted 16.7 points and 9.5 rebounds per game as he was selected to the 2004 NBA All-Star game. When Martin’s contract was up at the end of the 2004 season, the Nets decided against signing him to a lucrative contract and instead traded him to the Denver Nuggets in a sign-and-trade deal.
Even though his time in New Jersey was brief, it was a special four years earning two trips to the NBA Finals and fans will never forget the excitement he brought, the pounding of his chest and yes – his feud with Tim Thomas.
Here’s the top ten Jason Kidd to Kenyon Martin alley-oops, give it a look and take a trip down memory lane.