When a player joins a new NBA team, it is customary for the home TV broadcast to introduce fans to him as a person, not just someone who wears a familiar uniform and hopefully helps the squad to victories. The idea is that these players are becoming part of a community, so the fans should form a connection beyond what happens on the court. Unfortunately, the vast majority of these personal facts fail to go under the surface of players' lives.
Sometimes, though, we learn something about a player that's genuinely fascinating. During last night's broadcast of the Minnesota Timberwolves' opener against the Orlando Magic, Fox Sports North informed the viewers at home that offseason pickup Kevin Martin does not like buildings.
It bears mention that Martin is not the only NBA player with a peculiar fear. Last season, we learned that Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard is very afraid of historic statues, and Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade recently told the world that's he's scared of birds. Yet those are things that humans typically don't encounter face-to-face very often. A professional basketball player who travels to many North American cities presumably has to deal with buildings a lot. Or, I don't know, maybe Martin sleeps in a tent.
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On the other hand, it's possible that this revelation just lacks necessary specificity. There are quite a few common building-related fears, including batophobia (fear of heights or being close to tall buildings), a form of agoraphobia related to building collapse, and even discomfort related to urban environments. Martin is certainly not alone. At the very least, it's less embarrassing than admitting to being a New York Yankees fan who grew up in Ohio.
The question, I suppose, is if his phobia explains any aspect of his career. Martin found his greatest success as a pro in Sacramento, a city not exactly known for its tall buildings. However, he also failed to play as well as hoped as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder last season, and OKC isn't a booming metropolis. Maybe, in the end, it's just a curious fact about a person with more levels than we fans could ever know.
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