Jason Kidd’s Legacy as a Nets Legend as He Heads to the Hall of Fame


ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported today that Jason Kidd and former Nets front office executive Rod Thorn will be a part of the Basketball Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018. The official announcement will come during the Final Four this weekend. Steve Nash and Grant Hill will also headline this year’s class.

Kidd and Thorn will join former Nets Drazen Petrovic and Julius Erving in the Hall of Fame. Petrovic and Erving have their own Nets legacies, but Jason Kidd took the team to new heights.

In the summer of 2001, Rod Thorn sent Stephon Marbury to the Phoenix Suns for Jason Kidd. It was a deal that changed the course of the franchise forever. The year before the deal, the Nets finished 12th in the Eastern Conference at 26-56. The next season, in Kidd’s first year with the team, the Nets won their first Eastern Conference championship in franchise history and finished atop the East with a 52-30 record. The following season, Kidd led the Nets to another Eastern Conference championship and Finals appearance after a 49-33 season.

Obviously, Kidd’s legacy will be those two NBA Finals appearances. But he contributed so much more than that. To me, his legacy is putting the New Jersey Nets franchise on the map and making the marginal players around him into great pieces. He turned New Jersey into a place where playoff basketball was the norm and elevated players like Kenyon Martin, Richard Jefferson, Kerry Kittles, Lucious Harris, Aaron Williams, Keith Van Horn, Jason Collins, and Nenad Krstic. Players that never matched their level of play when they were no longer playing alongside Kidd.

Kidd even elevated himself as a member of the Nets. He developed his three point shot, something that wasn’t a reliable part of his game before the trade. He became a much better scorer, and he really embraced his role as the unquestioned leader of the team. The Nets went as Kidd went and that’s something that Kidd and the entire team bought into.

Fans will remember the Finals appearances, the playoff games, the countless Kidd-to-Martin alley-oops, and later the Kidd-to-Carter alley-oops. They will remember the plethora of incredible passes, the big shots, the highlights, and the wins. But what Kidd did for the franchise and his teammates are the reasons he’s being immortalized as a basketball legend. And the fact that he will get to share this honor with Thorn, the man that made this all possible when he traded for Kidd back in 2001, is the latest memory the two will create for Nets fans everywhere.