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Kenyon Martin Sr. was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2000 NBA draft, and he played in an All-Star Game and the NBA Finals over a distinguished 15-year professional career. But he says he had more nerves watching his son, KJ Martin, with the Houston Rockets over this past season.

In an exclusive conversation with Rockets broadcaster Craig Ackerman, here’s what the elder Martin had to say about watching his son during the 2020-21 season — and how it compared to his nerves as a player.

Exciting, nerve-wracking at times. It was me wanting him to succeed so bad, and knowing the environment and everything that comes with it. The excitement (was) knowing that all the hard work that he’s put into it is just coming full circle for him now.

I’m definitely more nervous watching KJ play. For me, it was second nature going out there and doing it, just like it is for him. I was definitely more nervous watching him than any big-time games or free throws that I ever had to take.

Martin was selected in the second round of the 2020 NBA draft, with Houston securing his rights in a trade with the Sacramento Kings.

A 6-foot-6 forward, the younger Martin went on to average 9.3 points (50.9% FG, 36.5% on 3-pointers) and 5.4 rebounds in 23.7 minutes per game during his rookie season with the Rockets. Houston general manager Rafael Stone has already referred to the athletic 20-year-old as part of his team’s “young core” to build around in the years ahead.

The complete conversation between Ackerman and two generations of the Martin family can be watched below.


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