Martin Grateful For Sacramento Experience

Martin Grateful For Sacramento Experience

 





Looking back, Kevin Martin is grateful for the time he spent in Sacramento. Drafted by the Kings in 2004, he spent his first 5 1/2 seasons in the league in Sacramento before a mid-season trade sent him to Houston to reunite with Rick Adelman—his first coach with the Kings. So as he gets set to face his former team once again tonight in Minnesota, Martin is quick to point out he owes a lot to the Sacramento franchise, city and coaches who helped him early on in his career.

"They told me that basketball is all they have out there—there's no other pro team in that town, so they told me it would be a special experience," Martin said. "And that city did not let me down."

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From Day 1, Martin began learning the nuances of Adelman's offense that he would carry on throughout his career. Where to cut, what angles to take, they all started early on in Sacramento. He learned from veterans like Bobby Jackson—now Minnesota's player development coach—and he became familiar with how much the city embraced the Kings' players. He entered, of course, during the tail end of Sacramento's eight straight playoff berths and at the height of the Vlade/C-Webb/Bibby era. "I went there as a little boy, and I was just gracious to be under their wing for so many years," Martin said. "They taught me a lot."

He learned that opportunities are earned in this league, not given for not reason, and he realized he would need to seize the opportunities. He did just that after spending his rookie season off the playoff roster, playing Ray Allen as the Kings practiced for Seattle's Ray Allen. He said Adelman made him work from the first day he arrived in Sacramento and never handed him anything. That lesson never left him.

And in the past couple years when the Kings' status in Sacramento was up in the air, Martin took notice. He said he was thrilled when word broke Sacramento would be keeping the team long term.

"I think [Sacramento mayor] Kevin Johnson and the whole city and the Kings organization, they fought to the end and they got rewarded," Martin said. "I think that I'm able to keep going back to that city and play in front of the fans that supported me all those years."


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