In a recent interview, Kenyon Martin Sr told SiriusXM NBA Radio that the Houston Rockets aren’t his preferred situation for his son Kenyon Martin Jr. Martin Jr, commonly called KJ Martin, has become a fan favorite in Houston for his electric athleticism and non-stop motor. The 21-year-old forward has become a key part of the Rockets’ young core, which has made some of his father’s comments alarming.
"“I just want a better situation for him, as far as winning. Houston is Houston. The way it’s looking now… that’s not going to be the case next year. They’re going to have another lottery pick, and be even younger,” said Kenyon Martin Sr."
Martin did voice his appreciation for the opportunity afforded to his son, saying, “Houston is great, for what it’s been, getting acclimated, getting his feet in the door, learning the NBA game, and earning his minutes. Nothing has been given to him, he’s earned every minute that he’s had.”
However, Martin clearly believes that team success will be key to KJ Martin’s development. “As far as winning, and the way the organization is going about certain things… I’d love for him to be in a different situation, in that regard. But if Houston changes, that’s what it is. I’m looking out for his best interest, long-term, and off-the-court stuff,” Martin said.
"“When you look at teams like Milwaukee, Brooklyn, San Antonio, Miami, Phoenix, even New Orleans… how they approach the game and play, I would love for him to be in a situation where people approach every situation like that, and help their young guys get better,” he added. "
Martin didn’t advocate for an immediate move but seemed to believe that the organizational direction was not fostering the best environment for development. His desire for his son to play for a winning organization is understandable, but it’s highly unlikely that he would have gotten nearly as much playing time as he has in Houston on a playoff team.
However, the elder Martin knows a thing or two about how to navigate an NBA career. He was the first overall pick in the 2000 NBA draft, was an All-Star in 2004, and took home $113 million in salary over his career.
He also saw near-immediate team success. By his second season, he had made it to the NBA Finals and would make it back the following season. Although a championship eluded him.
Kenyon Martin Jr has a long way to go to surpass his father, but he has made significant strides over his two seasons in Houston. In a few seasons, the Rockets may be well on their way to building the winning culture that Martin Sr is talking about.