By Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson
So let’s take a story down memory lane.
It was April 17, 2004 at the Continental Airlines Arena in East Rutherford, NJ. The Hudson River was buzzing with the 47-35 New Jersey Nets, a second seed, taking on the 39-43 New York Knicks in round one of the NBA’s Eastern Conference first round series.
It was a showcase that featured a Nets team who had back to back NBA Finals appearances and their captain do it all, Jason Kidd. Kidd was arguably the best point guard in the NBA at the time who was going head to head with Knicks point guard Stephon Marbury, Marbury was the kid from Brooklyn whose dream was to represent the hometown orange and blue while growing up in the Surfside Gardens Housing Projects in Coney Island. A former Net who was traded in a blockbuster trade to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for Kidd a few seasons prior, Marbury believed that he was the best point guard in the NBA and he was out to prove it.
That showcase took a turn.
With the Nets leading 94-74 midway through the 4th quarter of game 1, Knicks forward, Tim Thomas, a Paterson, NJ native, took Nets forward Kenyon Martin off the dribble from the left side. Martin lost Thomas on defense and Thomas glided to the basket. Jason Collins went to bail Martin on defense and attempted to block Thomas’ shot. Instead, he knocked Thomas to the ground and Collins was charged with a flagrant foul. The hit not only required a stretcher for Thomas to get off the court, but Thomas was ruled out for the remainder of the series. After being released from the hospital, Thomas expressed his frustration to the New York media, telling reporters that he would be looking to hit someone back when he returned to the court. When pressed by a writer on his stance on Kenyon Martin, Thomas replied: that Martin was a “fugazi,” a term popularized by former HBO original program The Sopranos which means ‘fake.’
“I said what I thought that individual, Kenyon Martin is, which is a fake tough guy,” Thomas told me Thursday evening on my Scoop B Radio podcast.
“It kind of stuck. I’m from Paterson NJ, 10th Ave. and E. 29th. My city is called Pakistan right now. They call him Ken in his hometown, where he’s from. They call me Big Dog and Big Homie or OG where I’m from. So it’s a major difference right there.”
Martin would retaliate by cutting out the New York Post’s headline that read “Whiny Tim” and taped it to his practice jersey for all the media to see. The Nets swept the Knicks in the series, 4-0 and would eventually lose in the Eastern Conference Finals to eventual 2004 NBA Champion Detroit Pistons.
Now retired, Thomas, a 6’10 small forward out of Villanova averaged a little over 11 points and four rebounds during his career. Thomas’ name surfaced in the news last week when Kenyon Martin appeared on Yahoo Sports’ The Vertical Podcast with NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski. In the interview with The Vertical, Martin discussed his time playing for the Nets and divulged what transpired with he and Thomas. Apparently, after the playoff series between the two teams, the two got into an altercation at a Dallas-area night club. According to Martin, the party’s hostess asked Thomas to leave and informed him that she didn’t want “any of Thomas’ blood on her hands.” To which Martin told The Vertical Podcast: “Ain’t no one going to let something happen to me in my area code and I don’t think he knew that, so it could have got ugly. He found out that night to leave me alone.”
After hearing Martin’s side of the story, Thomas rebuttled via the Scoop B Radio Podcast.
“He decides that he needs to keep up this tough guy image in his interviews and was constantly using my name,” said Thomas. “But that’s not going to happen. Just to clarify what happened from his story, we actually ran into each other in a nightclub in NYC. I was tempted to fight by mushing him in his face and he just backed up against the wall. He wanted no parts of me. He completely left the nightclub after I let him go and I’m assuming he left New York because within 48 hours later, I had to do a charity event in Dallas and some of the story he was talking is exactly what happened in Dallas.”
According to Thomas, he and a group of friends were at a nightclub in Dallas and they were not escorted out, they left on their own because he says they had a charity event to attend.
“We left the club because I’m doing a charity event with my friend named Dre and I don’t want to mess up his money,” said Thomas.
Thomas says that Dre had the club reserved on Friday and Sunday night as well and that he saw Martin a few more times throughout the weekend and various events. By the end of the weekend, they’d seen each other one last time and according to Thomas, he had had enough of Martin and he took things into his own hands.
“I was so heated about what happened on Saturday, I approached him again about fighting me.” said Thomas. “So I took $1500 and slapped him in the face with it, and once again he did absolutely nothing.”
According to Thomas, both Martin and Thomas currently live in the same Los Angeles-area and they resolved their disagreement in the kitchen of former NBA player, Al Harrington’s kitchen.
“We’re both grown, got our own kids,” said Thomas. “There’s no need to go in that direction. When I had interviews, I had the option of making things ugly and I didn’t. I never really told anyone what really went down. I respect those who live in their cities, but I also give respect in all cities. You know the old saying “real recognize real,” that’s all that was. At the end of the day, it was two warriors going at it. He wanted to protect his teammates and I understand that. But let’s not get all the way out of character with the things that you’re saying. You’re playing in New Jersey, but I’m from there. At some point, we’re gonna bump heads and if you’re not about that, then keep your mouth closed. It would’ve been nothing for something to happen to this dude.”
When pressed on a way to resolve the issue, Thomas stated that he’d like to step into the ring and box Kenyon Martin for a charity of his choice.
“Brother let’s get in the ring,” said Thomas. “Let’s get in the ring! I know you got some charities you can send the money to. I’ve got plenty of kids to help out, plenty of organizations. We could give it to charity. Or we can get some boxing promoters. I can call Floyd and we can get this off my chest once and for all. And the world will see what type of individual he is all at one time.”
Well, while we’re waiting for Kenyon Martin and Tim Thomas to step into the ring, Thomas appeared on today’s episode of the Brown and Scoop Podcast to discuss his SX Liquor, a premium spirits line launched in April 2011 as well as his relationship with Charles Oakley and the time D-Bo from Friday broke into his hotel room and scared the living daylights out of him.
Check it out below.
Brandon Robinson is a sports and entertainment writer and TV personality. You can catch him daily on CBS Radio’s Play.it Brown And Scoop Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @SCOOPB and visit www.ScoopB.com.