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Frustrated pivotmen around the country would have enjoyed the lovers' spat that took place last Friday between Cincinnati center Kenyon Martin and his fianc�e, Fatimah Conley. The subject at hand—or rather, on Martin's right pectoral—was his most recent tattoo, BAD ASS YELLOW BOY, which comes from a song by a rap group called (we're not making this up) UNLV. Kenyon was explaining how BAD ASS represents his basketball image and how YELLOW BOY is the term used for light-skinned blacks, like Martin, back home in Dallas. That's when Fatimah finally broke in.
"I'm sorry to say," she blurted out, "but I hate it."
"Well, I like it," replied Kenyon. "That's why I got it."
"But it totally puts negative connotations on you!"
"Don't nobody see it, so what's the problem?"
"When you're in a game and you pull your jersey up and beat your chest after you do something good, people see it."
"How many times have I done that?"
"Once is enough!"
On and on the domestic comedy went—Martin would all but bellow, "To the moon, Alice!"—until it became clear that no matter how many turnarounds the most prolific scorer on the nation's top college basketball team put up, every one of them would be majestically swatted away by Conley, a chemistry major who stands no taller than 5' 4".
Well, it's time somebody turned the tables. For while there's no denying that he has been the badass golden boy of the college season so far, time spent with Martin reveals that his fearsome persona on the court is nothing but a fraud. But more later on his lubricated tear ducts, violin virtuosity and sensitivity about a childhood stuttering problem. For now, suffice it to say that even though the No. 1 Bearcats are stacked at nearly every position, their 20-I record through Sunday is owed mainly to Martin, wholed Cincinnati in scoring (17.1 points a game), rebounding (9.2) and blocked shots (3.6), to say nothing of paint-melting glares. In the process he has emerged as the favorite in the race for player of the year. "He's head and shoulders above anybody I've seen this year," says Gonzaga coach Mark Few, whose team lost 75-68 to the Bearcats on Dec. 4.