Martin out to break drought in China

Updated: 2011-10-16 10:18

By Sun Xiaochen (China Daily)

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Martin out to break drought in China

Former Denver Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin has joined CBA club Xinjiang Flying Tigers and wants to win a Chinese basketball championship ring. Doug Pensinger / Agence France-Presse

BEIJING - Kenyon Martin wants to win a title, and he doesn't care if it takes coming to China to do so.

Shrugging off money as a motivation, the former Denver Nuggets forward said he joined the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) for a simple reason - to play and win.

"I know they (CBA club Xinjiang Flying Tigers) have won three league runner-ups. They need a championship. And I am coming for that," Martin said on Oct 6 after landing at the Uramqi airport, near where the team's court is located.

Martin signed a one-season, $2.7 million contract, the league' most lucrative deal, with the Flying Tigers last month.

The 2000 NBA draft's first pick said he's coming for the game, not the money.

"I'm a grown man. Nobody is forcing me. It ain't about the money. The money is great, but I don't need it," Martin told

"The deciding factor was the basketball. I will be 34 in December. Everybody knows I'm not getting any younger. I start getting that itch about this time of the year, and I want to play."

Without an opt-out clause in the contract, Martin won't able to return to the NBA until the Flying Tigers' season ends, possibly in May after the playoffs, even if the postponed NBA season begins.

The club, which has already signed former NBA shooter Quincy Douby and center Mengke Bateer, has hired a crew that includes a translator, a driver and a chef, to help smooth Martin's transition to a new culture.

The team's American head coach, Bob Donewald, who led the Chinese national squad to the Asian championship last month, also paved the way.

"He's going to provide us intensity in defense and rebounding. He's a smart guy on the court and he keeps in good shape. He's going to help us a lot," Donewald said.

Martin echoed his new coach's sentiments.

"I'm going to help somebody win. I'm not going to go somewhere and sit on that bench. I'm going somewhere where I can contribute. I'm not going to sign on just to be on a bandwagon," said Martin, who has averaged 13.5 points and 7.2 rebounds a game during his 11-year NBA career.