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Interview with retired NBA star Kevin Martin in India: "LeBron James will pick Kyrie Irving on his All-Star Team"

Yash Matange
FEATURED WRITER
Exclusive
638   //    14 Jan 2018, 18:00 IST

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Kevin Martin, a retired NBA player, is currently in India as part of the league's program to grow and promote the sport of basketball in the country. Martin, who spent twelve years in the league, played for five NBA teams - Sacramento Kings, Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Minnesota Timberwolves and the San Antonio Spurs.

Martin isn't the first, however, to visit the country. More than 30 active and retired have previously made trips to India - Sim Bhullar, Bruce Bowen, Muggsy Bogues, Chris Bosh, Swin Cash, Tamika Catchings, Seth Curry, Pau Gasol, Robert Horry, Dwight Howard, Robin Lopez, Brian Shaw, Shawn Marion, Jason Richardson, Kenneth Faried and Kevin Durant.

On Friday, Jan. 12th, he interacted with a few kids at a Reliance Foundation Jr. NBA participants at the Dhirubhai Ambani School. He also made an appearance as a guest analyst on "Around the Hoop", SONY SIX's NBA show that airs every weekend mornings. He is slated to travel to Delhi to attend another Reliance Foundation Jr. NBA program at St. Paul School, Safdarjung, followed by a visit to the NBA Basketball School at Apeejay School, Sheikh Sarai on Jan. 17. Finally, he caps off his visit by traveling to Noida to conduct a clinic for the nation's top prospects at The NBA Academy India.

On a relative off-day - Saturday (Jan. 13), Martin took some time for a short Q & A with Sportskeeda's Basketball Content Developer Yash Matange to talk about the favorite team he has played for, how retirement has been treating him and his opinion on multiple current NBA topics:

Q: You have already been in Mumbai for a day, how has the experience been so far - the sightseeing and so forth?




A: Oh, it's been amazing. From the moment I stepped off the airplane, I just felt welcomed in this great country. Today, I went sightseeing and I like to dive into other cultures. You know, just see what's going on here and I think I went to a famous train station today. It's pretty nice to see and just seeing people out, socializing and just looking like a tight-knit community was really impressive.

Q: The NBA schedule is so rigorous, how has life been treating you since you retired from the game?

A: It's been great. I retired after the birth of my child to spend more time with her and also doing this with the NBA - traveling around the world and promoting the game of basketball to other inspired children. It's just been a blessing in my life and really enjoying life right now, and my body is welcoming the new non-contact gig.

Q: You played for five teams in your career. Which team resonates the most with you? Which team do you have the most memories with?

A: All of them had their special memories. I want to say Sacramento Kings, though. I went there as a 21-year old boy and the journey that I had to go through to become a man when I was there, I wouldn't have been able to do that without great support from the community. Just showing me how to be an adult in life and also from the great players that I had there while I was there for six years. So, Sacramento will always hold a special place in my heart.


Kevin Martin with Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love during their lone season together [2013-14].
Kevin Martin with Ricky Rubio and Kevin Love during their lone season together in Minnesota [2013-14].

Q: You also spent more than a couple of seasons in Minnesota [2013-16]. During that time, the franchise was going through a Playoff drought, you ever feel the pressure while playing there and you excited about the city now that the current squad is definitely going to make the Playoffs this April?

A: Na, I didn't feel any pressure like that. I just came there to play with Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio, which was a great experience for one year and then Kevin Love moved on, so we knew what time it was for everybody else. But I'm very happy to be able to see Minnesota in the Playoffs this upcoming April. They have a great team, a great coach, a great owner. So they should all feel proud of themselves and let's see what they do in the Playoffs. They are definitely a team to watch out for in the future.

Q: There has been a lot of chat over the past year about Durant and Russell Westbrook. You have played one season with both of them, they are both MVP's now, what was it like playing with them?


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Kevin Martin (#23) in OKC with Kevin Durant (#35) and Russell Westbrook (#0)

A: It was refreshing to see that two young people work that hard and just want to be the greatest basketball players they can be. Their hard work has paid off. One of them is the reigning MVP and the other is a reigning NBA Champion. So, they are great icons of the league, for the kids to look up to because even off-the-court they are just two special people that would anything for anybody in this world.

Q: So, Kevin your shooting form was quite unorthodox, yet, you were quite a reliable shooter - someone teams could depend on. There's been a lot of chatter about Lonzo Ball and whether he needs to change his shooting form. What are your thoughts on that?

A: Lonzo is going to be a great player. Whether he changes it [shooting form] or not, he's going to be a special player for the Lakers for many years to come. He's in great hands with Magic Johnson, so no need to worry about Lonzo.


Kevin Martin in Sacramento (left); Lonzo Ball (right)
Kevin Martin in Sacramento (left); Lonzo Ball (right)

Q: You have any All-Star predictions - any surprises or underrated picks for this year's edition of the game in Los Angeles?

A: I'm going to say LeBron James will pick Kyrie Irving to play on his All-Star team. That's my surprise pick.

Q: You think Karl-Anthony Towns should make the All-Star Team?

A: Yes. He's a great player playing on a great team. He's had a great year and he should definitely make it.

Q: Your 2018 NBA Finals predictions?

A: I'm going to go with the rest of the world. I'm going to say Cleveland Cavaliers versus the Golden State Warriors with the Warriors winning it in six games.

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Yash Matange
FEATURED WRITER
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