“Only father’s time could keep Shaq”: Kenyon Martin shares his experience as a greats goalkeeper, chooses Shaquille O’Neal as hardest player to protect
Kenyon Martin Sr. talks about Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan as the toughest to keep, but Shaq being a cut above them both.
NBA forward Kenyon Martin was a physical defender in his day. He was strong and quick for his size, which allowed him to keep all five positions. He also had a high defensive IQ, often forcing the opponent to take difficult and uncomfortable shots.
Martin made his debut in 2000 with the New Jersey Nets. During his 15-year career in the NBA, he played with several teams – Clippers, Bucks, Knicks and the Nuggets. He was a member of the 2002 Nets that faced the Lakers in the final.
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In an interview with Gilbert Arenas on the “No Chill” podcast, Kenyon Martin talks about the most difficult players to protect. He begins by sharing his experience as a Kobe Bryant goalkeeper. “I’m on top of him, he’s pulling this thing out of the glass with his left hand.” I was like – ‘Yeah, don’t do that anymore, man, don’t do that again, man.’ “
Martin then chooses Tim Duncan. He explains how his usual tactics against big men wouldn’t work on “the big fundamental”. However, Martin takes great pride in not allowing Timmy to make his trademark bank shot. “The only blow I wouldn’t give him is the bank blow. I’m like – ‘you don’t do this to me, you can get something else.’ “
Kenyon Martin chooses Shaquille O’Neal as the most difficult player to keep of all time.
Josiah Johson, co-host of the podcast, asked Martin, “How was it having to keep a guy like Shaq? To which Martin had a very simple answer – “Impossible”. Additionally, he goes on to explain that he wasn’t a primary defender on Shaq but should get him back in transition or outside of a timeout.
“I’m the double guy. I’m the double and the exit guy. He grabs it, wherever I am on the floor I can come, I can overtake him and get out. I’m like that with him. Martin adds that getting older was the only thing that slowed Shaq down. “No guardian here like the days of the fathers guarded Shaq. Believe me, there was no stopping this man.
The Big Diesel was a dominant force in its heyday. Even though the opponent knew what he was going to do, it was impossible to stop him. As well as being 7’1 ” tall and over 300 pounds, he possessed a combination of strength and skill that had never been seen before.
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Shaq played the central position while Martin mainly played in the power front. Besides the downside of size, there is also the downside of weight. Martin wasn’t the only one having issues with Shaq at the time. In his prime, no other player managed to limit Shaq’s production.