Kenyon Martin Jr. has been playing the best basketball of his young NBA career with the Houston Rockets. But if you think he’s getting his regular dose of high-fives and attaboys from his ex-NBA star father, Kenyon Martin Sr., you’re wrong.
K-Mart tells it like it is
Right from the jump, Kenyon Sr. has been “honest” with KJ For K-Mart, there’s no shortcut to success, and he’s the type of father who doesn’t confuse his son if he is or isn’t on the right track. So, if KJ does well, it’s good, but if not, his dad will be the first to tell him so.
“Just by being honest. I’m not the sugarcoat dad,” Martin Sr. told Slam of how he guided KJ in his career back in 2018. “I’m telling you the good, the bad and the ugly. There are no secrets about how hard you need to work.”
Kenyon also kept talking to KJ about the difference between “just a good high school basketball player” and “elite.” But more importantly, the former New Jersey Nets power forward made it crystal clear to KJ that he should go to college first before pursuing an NBA career.
“You’ve gotta do your schoolwork, if you don’t, you don’t play,” he added. “You gotta pass your SAT, ACT—you don’t do that, you don’t go to college. No college, no NBA. It’s those things. I don’t sugarcoat it for him.”
Just like any other dad
Like a good kid, KJ obeyed his father and went to college. He took his talents to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. At IMG, Jr. gave Kenyon no reason not to let him push through with his NBA aspirations, having averaged 20 points and 8 rebounds per game. Of course, K-Mart was nothing but proud of what his son had accomplished and pleased to have witnessed it right before his eyes.
“I’m a proud father,” Kenyon admitted. “I thought me getting drafted and the birth of my kids, all that was great, but just to see your kid going after his dreams and him working at it, is satisfying.”
KJ is currently in his third season with the Rockets. Though he is still far from the All-Star big man like Kenyon was during his playing years, he’s gradually been improving. Indeed, KJ still has a long way to go, and make no mistake, Kenyon will be there to guide and support him.