Martin said Dallas Mavericks fans drove by his home in Arlington, Texas, at least six times this summer shouting insults.
“Some people still think I’m a thug,” Martin said. “My house is the biggest house in the neighborhood. People drive by … saying stuff like, ‘Mark Cuban was right.’ Me and my partners will be sitting by my pool or barbequing and we’ll just laugh at it.”
The heckling is just the latest incident in an ugly feud between Martin and Cuban, the Mavericks’ owner. During the Nuggets’ second-round playoff series in Dallas, Mavericks fans taunted Martin’s mother. After a fan allegedly called the Nuggets thugs, Cuban admitted to saying, “And that includes your son.” The situation grew worse in Game 4 when Martin threatened and cursed at some fans he thought had hassled his mother. Security also was called to address separate incidents between fans and the girlfriends of Martin and Carmelo Anthony(notes). After the game, Martin cursed out Cuban.
Cuban apologized to Martin’s mother in his blog, and it was thought that, given a summer to cool off, both sides would be eager to forgive and forget. For K-Mart, at least, that’s not the case. He’s still simmering over what Cuban said to his mother.
“My mom wasn’t playing. She didn’t suit up,” Martin told Yahoo! Sports. “She was there to see her baby play like she is at every game. She didn’t do nothing to nobody but have me. So therefore, for you to approach my mom, you’re a coward. That’s who you are, a coward. A tuck-your-tail-between-your-legs coward.”
Cuban chose not to respond to Martin’s latest salvo. “It’s over,” Cuban wrote in an email. “There is nothing to say.”
There’s also clearly no love lost between Martin and some in the Mavericks organization, who are upset with him for continuing to curse at fans on his way out of the arena. Martin also remains angry for being labeled a thug.
“I’ve never sold dope,” Martin said. “I’ve never been to jail. I’ve never been shot at. I’ve never been stabbed. I’ve never shot at nobody. I never got a DUI. Never got caught with a gun. None of that. I never broke into nobody’s house. I used to steal [food] as a kid to get by, Lunchables. I was hungry and I went through it.
“But I’m not a thug. A thug shoots people, gets shot, goes to prison and does stuff like that. I’ve never done any of the above. So how am I a thug?”
Martin knows his appearance – all those tattoos and his eternal scowl – along with his incessant trash-talking have contributed to that perception. Martin’s friends, however, think there’s a lot more bark than bite, citing the charity work he has done in Denver and Dallas. His mother raised him and his sister by herself in Dallas’ Oak Cliff neighborhood, which explains why Martin is so protective of her. His toughness and bravado also are born from the teasing he endured for stuttering as a child.
“My mouth is terrible when I’m on the court,” Martin said. “I don’t take no stuff from anybody. I wear my emotions on my sleeve. People look at that and they form their own opinion on what that is instead of looking back and really, really studying the situation. I’m judged more than anybody in this league.
“Like I told the guys at the [Nuggets team] dinner, ‘Don’t listen to how I’m saying it. Listen to what I’m saying because I know what I’m talking about.’ Some people get intimidated by it.”
Martin continues to make Dallas his offseason home, which only made him an easier target for Mavericks fans. He said the heckling began after a fan site posted pictures of his 13,000-square-foot Arlington mansion (complete with concrete lions to “protect his mother from angry NBA owners”).
“I have more people that drive by my house than visit a museum,” Martin said. “They’ll drive by, stop and look. Some people have something to say. But if they were to see me face to face, they would not have a word to say. Not a word.
“You can yell whatever from your car. See me face to face and say it, and see what you get.”
Martin and the Nuggets don’t visit Dallas until March 29. Cuban had previously offered to let Martin’s mother and the families of other Nuggets players join him in a suite if the playoff series had returned to Dallas. He probably doesn’t need to bother making a similar offer for the March game. Martin said he wouldn’t accept it.
“I don’t need your suite,” Martin said. “I can afford a suite and anything she wants. We don’t need your gifts or your handouts.”
- Kenyon Martin
- Mark Cuban