Kenyon preaches non-violence at Montbello H.S.
I'm posting this because I want to show that I'm not just looking at the negative things from Kenyon and because I'm a graduate of Montbello High School. :)
It’s not surprising to see Nuggets Forward Kenyon Martin on a basketball court and in the gym. On this particular day he wasn’t working on his game or practicing at the Pepsi Center, he was using his voice to try and make a difference to some of Denver’s youth. On Wednesday, Sept. 13, Martin joined community leaders in the gymnasium at Montbello High School for an anti-gang violence assembly.
The assembly, labeled “Rally to ‘Pass’ on Violence,” was coordinated by the Youth Counseling and Intervention Program (YCIP) and hosted by Denver Public High Schools. It was an effort to combat gang violence among Denver youth after three Montbello students died in the past two years as a result of altercations in the Montbello area.
Fifteen-hundred students crowded the gym, home to the Montbello Warriors, to make a pledge to live lives of non-violence. Standing and repeating after Martin, the Montbello high students recited the following pledge:
“I pledge to take full advantage of becoming an educated, empowered and productive citizen.”
“I pledge to show love and respect for my God, my family, myself, my community and others.”
“I pledge to be non-violent, to use words that show respect, not hatred.”
“I agree to stand firm and honor that which I have pledged.”
In addition to verbally pledging to non-violence, the students were to all sign written pledges during their lunch hour as well.
In addition to Martin, the students also listened to some remarks from their own Principal Antwan Wilson, Andre Shelton of the YCIP, Reverend Hall and his son, Everett Moore, a former gang member.
The group expressed the importance of trusting that their teachers and administrators are there for them and that loving themselves and one another is imperative. Moore told of his time in prison and his time selling drugs and encouraged the students to choose happiness in their lives. Moore also applauded those students who think for themselves and don’t worry what others are going to say or think of their actions.
While all the speakers presented positive messages, Martin was the speaker the students were the most excited to see and learn from. The students erupted with cheers as Reverend Hall introduced Martin to the crowd.
Martin spoke to the kids about his childhood, his experiences growing up and trying to make the right choices in life. He explained that he was around drugs and gang violence growing up in Dallas, but that he chose not to be a part of that lifestyle. He also told the students to respect their parents and their teachers and to make the right choices. “But you make one wrong choice, and it can affect your life,” Martin said.
After Martin made his plea to the students, he took questions from the audience. He made it clear that he didn’t want the normal questions that he is asked about his height and about his car, he wanted questions that pertained to the topic of the forum. One of the students asked Martin what he would be doing if he wasn’t playing basketball in the NBA. Martin told the assembly that he graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a degree in criminal justice and that he would be helping young people.
At the conclusion of the event, Martin was asked if he felt his message got through to the students, “I hope it gets to ‘em. I didn’t have these opportunities as a kid, so I hope it gets to ‘em. The least I could do was come out and let ‘em know. I hope they listened. I hope they paid attention to what I was saying. Some of them will, some of them won’t, but I hope it reaches a lot of them.”
He also expressed that he felt that today’s youth has it a little bit harder than he did growing up. “It’s just society. You’ve got more teen pregnancies now and things they deal with on a daily basis. It was bad when I was a kid, but it’s worse now – from rap music and movies to whatever you can think of … everything is not a positive influence for them. You see guys on TV and everybody has nice jewelry and everybody has nice clothes and the thing they hear about how they got it is people selling drugs.”
While the message of Martin and the rest of the panel was aimed at the young students at Montbello High School, this is a pledge that all human beings should make and live by.
Good to hear. Now if he can just pledge to be nonviolent and use words that show respect, not hatred towards George Karl, reporters and fans, we might have something here.
He's going to be here when the season starts, so we've got to make the best of it.
Actually, I know he wasn't anywhere near 100%, so I shouldn't bash Kenyon on that point. But taking bets on whether K-Mart would be playing on any given night was a fun pre-game activity.
My hope is that K-Mart's knee is good to go.
A fellow alumni, nice. :)
What year did you graduate, Jori?
Didn't a bunch of Kenyon's boys try and intimidate a fan who was questioning his heart at a game last year?
Class of '94. ^5
Some interesting comments.
Kenyon Martin reached into the bleachers and signed a dollar bill for a Montbello High School student Wednesday. A few minutes later, he vowed to give Nuggets fans their money's worth in 2006-07.
The Denver power forward stopped short of making any guarantees, but pronounced himself healthy and insisted he is ready to look ahead after a frustrating season that culminated in his suspension in the first round of the playoffs.
"I'm not making any promises on numbers, wins or how I'm going to perform," Martin said, "but I'm going to be a better player than I have been the previous two years."
Not to mention, a better teammate.
Martin was suspended after shouting and cursing at coaches and teammates during halftime of Game 2 of Denver's first-round playoff series against the Los Angeles Clippers.
The blowup, fueled by Martin's frustration over losing and a lack of playing time, proved to be a fitting end to a season in which the former All-Star was limited to 56 games because of chronic pain in his surgically repaired left knee.
Coach George Karl and Martin met briefly during the Las Vegas summer league but otherwise let the dust settle without much interaction. No more words are necessary, according to Martin.
"I have no hard feelings or anything like that for George," he said. "He's the coach of this team; I'm the player, and I'm going to do my job."
Karl welcomed a fresh start and praised Martin for his work in the gym over the past month.
"The bounce to his step is stronger," Karl said Wednesday. "I think his work has been above and beyond what I expected. . . . Our interaction has been very professional and very serious. What happened is behind us."
While insisting he has no regrets, Martin admitted he probably should have handled the situation last spring differently.
"Some of it I brought upon myself. I'm able to deal with that," he said. "I'm a man. I can deal with the decisions I make. I made a decision, which at the time, seemed right. Things happen in the spur of the moment. Push it under the rug and move on."
Martin, entering the third year of a seven-year, $92.5 million contract, averaged 12.9 points and 6.3 rebounds last season. The pedestrian numbers were among the lowest of his career and could be attributed, in part, to a slow, painful recovery from microfracture surgery in May 2005.
Tendinitis limited Martin's ability to practice, and he and Karl had conflicting philosophies when it came to how practice time translated into game minutes.
Martin, a starter throughout his career, was relegated to a reserve role, and the move didn't sit well, leading up to his memorable halftime tirade.
"He didn't like how he was playing, he didn't like how I was playing him and he didn't like how we were playing as a team," Karl said. "When all that happens, somebody's going to be angry."
Because of Martin's unhappiness, trade speculation was rampant during the offseason. However, there was not a strong market for a moody forward with a big contract and health issues.
"If I was going to be back, I'm going to be Kenyon. If not, oh well," Martin said. "I'm not going anywhere."
As the cliché goes, sometimes the best trades are the ones that don't get made, and the Nuggets hope that proves to be the case as Martin takes aim at a strong bounce-back season.
"I feel great," he said. "I haven't felt this good in two years."
Martin tried to pass along those good feelings Wednesday during an assembly at Montbello. He was one of several speakers who encouraged students to stay out of gangs and end the violence that has claimed the lives of three Montbello students in the past two years.
"You have more to deal with than I had to deal with," Martin told the student body. "I'm here to tell you to try to make the right decision."
Martin said gangs and drug dealers were all around growing up in Dallas, but his mom helped steer him away from trouble by dropping him off at a basketball gym when he was 9 years old.
"She told me I was going to do something else besides get in trouble," Martin told the students. He later told reporters he was "very close" to making the poor decisions that doomed many of his friends.
"You see kids in your neighborhood, they've got (Air) Jordans and nice clothes and you can't afford that," Martin said. "They're getting it because they're selling drugs . . . so it's very tempting. But I wasn't willing to go to jail over no Jordans. I buy all the Jordans I want to now."
A short time later, Martin climbed into his sleek, black Mercedes and drove slowly away from a group of awestruck students.
That was refreshing to hear. Granted it's just words, but still refreshing.
On a side note, the Nuggs seem to still be exploring a deal to get Bonzi Wells.
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