Kenyon Martin isn’t shy about voicing his opinion, as we learned after recent comments from his former coach George Karl.
This week, the former NBA All-Star joined Chris Broussard on the In The Zone podcast and relived some of the most brutal fights he witnessed (and participated in) during his time in the Association.
As Martin explains to Broussard, most actual NBA fights don’t happen on the court. It’s too easy to act tough during a game when you know someone will break things up before real punches are thrown. Instead, NBA practices are where you’ll see the most intense altercations — yes, even among teammates.
MARTIN: I’ve seen fights, been a part of fights in practice, fights in the locker room after the game. … My rookie year, I saw Kendall Gill choke out Jim McIlvaine in practice. Choked him out in practice one day. Jim McIlvaine was wild. He elbowed him one day in practice, elbowed him a couple times, and Kendall got fed up. Grabbed him, put him to the ground, man, and choked him, like, “I’ll kill you!”
Other than myself, Nene grabbed Steve Blake by his throat one day at practice. … Grabbed this man by his throat and picked him up. Nene’s got them big ol’ hands, man. Picked that man up, Steve Blake was punching him.
CHRIS: I mean, you knocked out Nene. I’m not sure if “knocked out” …
MARTIN: Yeah, it was a one-hitter-quitter. … They thought I broke his orbital bone. That was my first year in Denver. … He was starting at the time, and when I signed with Denver, we were playing open gym — this was before the season started. … So the days I would play, he wouldn’t play. He was staying away from me. And the days I wouldn’t come to the gym or I wouldn’t play, he would play. So you know me and my thought process, like, “You’re avoiding me.”
So I come to the gym late one day, and he’s playing. All right, let me guard him. I guard him, we’re going back and forth. We ain’t really playing basketball, it’s kind of getting a little chippy. Physical, I don’t mind. But I stopped play a few times, “Listen, Nene, you’re not playing basketball. Chill.” … I stopped play, man, “Listen, you do it again, I’m going to punch you. Straight up. No ifs, ands, I’m going to punch you if you do it again.”
We go down, what he do? I try to box him out, he’s running with his forearm at my head. I stand him up, hit him in his chest, boom. He threw his hands up, and I turned everything into him. Hips, everything, hook. He grabbed his eye, he was bleeding, his eyeball was fluttering like it was moving. Grabbed his eye, it was bleeding, and he walked off.