Is Kenyon Martin Jr. related to Kenyon Martin? What to know about 2023 NBA Slam Dunk Contest participant

You could say that dunking runs in the family for Kenyon Martin Jr.

The young Rockets forward has made a name for himself in the NBA thanks to his consistent competitiveness and a knack for explosive in-game dunks.

Here he posted three-time All-Star Domantas Sabonis just last week:

But he’s not the only Kenyon Martin known for throwing it down.

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Is Kenyon Martin Jr. related to Kenyon Martin?

Yes he is. Kenyon Martin Jr. – who is often called KJ – is the son of former NBA All-Star Kenyon Martin Sr.

Martin Sr. had a successful 15-year professional career that included stints with the Nets, Nuggets, Clippers, Knicks and Bucks. Selected No. 1 overall in the 2000 NBA draft, he was a power forward known for his athleticism and dunking skills. In 2004, he was named an NBA All-Star as a member of the Nets.

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Now, KJ wants to emulate his dad in the 2023 NBA Slam Dunk Contest in Salt Lake City.

The 22-year-old told Marc Spears in 2019 he learned a lot from watching his dad play as a kid.

“What I remember most is his energy,” he said of his father. “People fed off of him on the pitch and when you have energy everyone else gets better. Everyone is high up; nobody is low below. His energy helped a lot and I try to bring that into my game, energy, and try to help my team in any way I can.”

Unlike his father, who retired his #4 jersey from the University of Cincinnati Bearcats, KJ chose not to play in college. He originally signed on to play for Vanderbilt, but instead opted to do a postgraduate year at IMG Academy in Florida. He was eventually drafted by the Kings with the 52nd overall pick in the 2020 draft before being traded to Houston a week later.

He made his NBA debut for the Rockets in January 2021 and has slowly been accumulating minutes over the past two seasons. He is currently averaging 11.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game in the 2022-23 season.

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Now he gets the chance to show off his dunking skills in front of the basketball world when he takes center stage in Utah this weekend. There’s no doubt his dad will be watching proudly.

The NBA Slam Dunk Contest 2023 takes place this Saturday evening after the 3-point contest. Events begin around 8:00 p.m. ET on February 18.

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