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K-Mart visits Folsom

Kevin Martin stops by Raleys to meet his fans
By: Matt Long
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The Kings have the worst record in the NBA, but that didn’t stop fans from coming to see the team’s best player. Guard Kevin Martin visited the Raley’s at E. Natoma and Blue Ravine on April 6 and even an hour before his 4 p.m. arrival, there were about 50 people lined up to get his autograph. Kody Madore, a 10-year-old Folsom resident, arrived about 2 p.m. with his grandfather, Gary Percy, in tow. “I wanted to be the first one in line,” Madore said. “I want to ask him what brought him into basketball and what his first experience in the sport was.” Percy didn’t mind getting there so early. “Nah, I don’t mind waiting so long,” Percy said. “Not for him (Kody). I’d do anything for him. That’s what grandparents are for.” Another Folsom resident, Andrew Martin, 12, waited in line with his mom, Dorina. Martin had two jerseys and a basketball card to be signed. There’s an obvious reason why Kevin Martin is Martin’s favorite player. “We’ve got the same last name,” Martin said. “I also like everything about him; he’s an all-around good player.” Dorina found out that Martin was going to be at the store a few days before and immediately thought of her son. “I got a him a jersey right off the bat so he could get it signed,” Dorina said. While there was some Folsom residents lined up waiting to meet Martin, there were also many fans that came much further away to meet the Kings' star. Michael Shaw, 9, who lives in Las Vegas, was visiting his grandmother, Lynn Shaw, in the Lake Tahoe area and the two drove down to meet him. “He’s a really good basketball player, and he’s always been one of my favorite players,” Michael said. “I was at the Cavs game and he was amazing, the shots he was making and he also had some blocks. I’d like to play one-on-one with him.” Biyanca Lopez, along with her husband David, brother John and 2-year-old daughter Briyanna, came all the way from San Jose to meet Martin. The three-hour trip didn’t bother her at the least. “We were going to go eat first, but when we got here we saw that there was a line already so we decided to get in line,” Lopez said. “Kevin’s my favorite player; I like the way he plays. He’s been the main guy there since (Mike) Bibby left.” Lopez had a plaque, basketball, a jersey and a jacket to get signed. While some players might not like meeting with the fans, Martin didn’t seem to mind. “This is probably only the second one of these I’ve done this year,” Martin said, “but I don’t mind them. It’s nice to see where the fans come from.” When told about the Lopez family, Martin wasn’t surprised. “That just shows how much support the Kings have for someone to drive that far,” Martin said. Reed Rompel, a 10-year-old Folsom resident and fourth grader at Folsom Hills Elementary, was thrilled to get his jersey signed by Martin. “He’s really nice,” Rompel said. “He’s a great shooter too.”