A recent podcast by former New Jersey Nets star Kenyon Martin has reignited a decade-old feud and brought it to new heights.
While they both failed to make the playoffs this past season, there was a time not all that long ago that both the New York Knicks and New Jersey (now Brooklyn Nets) were heated rivals duking it out in the Eastern Conference Playoffs.
The last time the two teams met up was in the 2004 season when the Nets made short order of the Knicks and swept them in four games. While it was a quick series, there weren’t any shortage of fireworks and with recent comments by players on both sides, it appears that we haven’t heard the last of this matchup.
Speaking on The Vertical Podcast on Yahoo! Sports, former Nets star Kenyon Martin recalled an incident from the series that stood out to many fans. In the opening game, New York forward Tim Thomas drove to the lane in the fourth quarter and as he went up for a shot, Nets center Jason Collins attempted to block him but instead knocked him to the ground and was charged with a flagrant while Thomas had to be stretchered off.
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Upset by his teammates not backing him up, Thomas remarked to reporters that he would be looking to hit someone back when he returned to the court. Hearing this, one reporter chimed in, “What about Kenyon Martin?” in which Thomas replied that Martin was a “fugazi”, which is a word used with the Italian mafia meaning “fake”.
There was a back and forth in the media in which Martin referred to Thomas as “Whiny Tim”, but all appeared to be over after the buzzer sounded on the final game. According to Martin however, there was a meeting between the two after the season in a Dallas nightclub.
To Adrian Wojnarowski, Martin recalled, “He came to a club in Dallas maybe 10 minutes outside of the neighborhood that I grew up in. The DJ played every possible song to get people going, so people in the club were pointing at him that he don’t want this problem. It’s about to get ugly, so the lady that was hosting the party tells him, ‘I need you to leave. I don’t want your blood on my hands.’ He tried to go out the front, but she said no and took him out of the service elevator. Ain’t no one going to let something happen to me in my area code and I don’t think he knew that, so it could have got ugly. He found out that night to leave me alone.”
After hearing Martin’s recollection of the events, Thomas felt compelled to speak out and tell his side of the story. Speaking to Brandon Robinson of the Scoop B Radio podcast, Thomas said that the events in the club transpired a bit differently.
“It never really transpired between me and him outside of the court where things could of got ugly and he decides that he needs to keep up this tough guy image in his interviews and was constantly using my name, but that’s not going to happen. Just to clarify what happened from his story, we actually ran into each other in a nightclub in NYC. I was tempting fight by mushing him in his face and he just backed up against the wall, he wanted no parts of me. He completely left the nightclub after I let him go and I’m assuming he left New York because within 48 hours later, I had to do a charity event in Dallas and some of the story he was talking is exactly what happened in Dallas.”
He continued, “An individual and I were at a nightclub in Dallas, that wasn’t with me in New York, and we both saw him, and that individual wanted to get with Kenyon about some of the things that happened, who by the way, was by himself at the club. I had four other guys with me, and I called my friend off and told him that I had just dealt with Kenyon back in New York. I looked him in his eyes, he wanted no problems of me, so it’s a dead issue. But Kenyon, wanting to get some revenge, makes a call and there’s 30-40 people walking in out of nowhere within the hour, clearly wanting to make a scene while my friends and I are in the VIP section.”
From there the story took a turn that doesn’t paint Martin in a positive light, “We left the club because I’m doing a charity event with my friend named Dre and I don’t want to mess up his money. Dre had the club on Friday and Sunday night. Friday was the night I saw Kenyon when he called the 30-40 people and wanted to make a scene. Towards the end of the night, everyone was leaving the club and he wanted to make a scene, and the owner asked us to leave. The club was already over, so we just left. Saturday, I saw him out and about at another place. And he knew we were in there because the DJ had announced it and was talking about what happened on Friday night, so Kenyon did the smart thing by leaving. Sunday, I saw him again at the same club and I was so heated about what happened on Saturday, I approached him again about fighting me. So I took $1500 and slapped him in the face with it, and once again he did absolutely nothing.”
With the incident in question over ten years old, Thomas had expected for it to be over and done with, but since Martin brought it back to light he’s looking to set it to rest once and for all in a boxing ring.
“At the end of the day, the only reason why I’m talking about this, and this is the last time I’m ever gonna be talking about this, is because he opened his mouth and he’s telling lies about the situation. If he had told the truth, in it all, I wouldn’t have nothing to say. I would’ve been like, “You know what, he right. I’m a grown man. I’m gonna leave it alone.” Like in my case, me telling the truth, he said he wouldn’t say nothing more. But knowing him, he’s gonna say something. And if it comes to that point, brother let’s get in the ring. Let’s get in the ring! I know you got some charities you cans end the money to, you know I got plenty of kids to help out, plenty of organizations. We could give it to charity. Or we can get some boxing promoters. I can call Floyd and we can get this off my chest once and for all. And the world will see what type of individual he is all at one time.”
With the NBA season set to come to a close within a month and the Brooklyn Nets currently without a first round draft pick, this could be type of action that makes for an exciting offseason.