Kevin Martin was, I felt, one of the first grassroots stars of the NBA blogosphere. Martin's second season, 2005-06, came just as NBA blogs really grew as a medium and a voice. Lord knows I had awfully small readership back in late 2005 -- pookeyguru and Carl were two of the few commenters as we wondered if Rick Adelman had lost Mike Bibby's ear, or if Peja Stojakovic had been mentally incapicitated by Bonzi Wells. Martin began his ascent right around December 2005, and he excelled as a starter when Wells went down with an injury just before the Ron Artest trade. The rest is history -- Martin was excellent in the playoffs, won the starting two-guard job over John Salmons the following autumn, and never looked back. We watched as he went from hero to zero, from footnote to STAR. And while the national media perhaps waited too long to embrace him as a major NBA player -- he still gets called Kenyon from time to time -- he is a full-blown star now. Success, I suppose. Let us blow horns of our own employ.
But coddamn it hurts to lose him. He was ours -- our secret, our walking idiosyncrasy, our source of impromptu elation. Chris Webber, high and low, was shared with the world. Peja, too. Even Mitch Richmond was a star who happened to play in Sacramento. But Martin? He was ours. And he's gone. Partly because he wanted out -- he's been pissed at the franchise's lack of support -- and partly because of the franchise's itchy finger. Partly because Carl Landry is awesome, and the Kings bigs, on the whole, are not. Partly because Martin and Tyreke Evans just haven't clicked totally. Partly because the Knicks are going to Crazytown and might want to take us along.
Every ending in Sacramento is sour. Webber, Bibby, Richmond, Peja, Artest, Wells, Miller, Orien Greene, Ike Diogu. I always thought Martin would survive that, like Bobby Jackson did, that the fans were so endeared to his game he'd go out only when it made perfect sense. At this point, that's not the case. This is an impatient separation (with blame to both Martin and the organization). And time won't change that. But whining about it won't reverse it either, will it?
So let's celebrate Martin, for all the fun he's given us through the dark, dark years. I'll dearly miss him as a player and as an ambassador of the game, and I'll sure as hell be rooting for Houston this spring. See ya, Speedracer. Good luck.
Please reserve this thread for thoughts on Martin. Plenty of threads to discuss the trade itself.