Newly minted Basketball Hall of Fame member Jason Kidd spoke very highly of his time with the New Jersey Nets as he was inducted into the Hall Friday night.
Jason Kidd entered the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame with fond memories of his time with the New Jersey Nets, a few jokes and a lot of thank yous.
Kidd, who played parts of seven seasons with the Nets when they were in East Rutherford, thanked former New Jersey general manager Rod Thorn — himself an inductee Friday night as a contributor to the game.
“It was a great time to be a Net.”
It was in this part of Kidd’s speech that a long-time icy relationship may have thawed, but another relationship showed to still be frayed. Kidd thanked former Nets coaches Byron Scott and Eddie Jordan (who was an assistant during Kidd’s time in New Jersey).
That went with a theme of reconciliation between Kidd and Scott over the last few days. Scott spoke to Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson about Kidd while on Scoop B Radio.
"“If I do see him, I would just want to congratulate him on his career and everything he’s been able to accomplish. Hopefully we can go from there.“He put in all the work. Jason was a great player, unbelievable competitor; when there was a big shot to be made, as much as people would talk about how he wasn’t a great shooter, but he made big shots when the game was on the line.“He had a lot to do with my career being successful as a coach in New Jersey so, yeah, I’m extremely happy for him.”"
That is a much warmer recollection of Kidd than ever before from Scott, whose relationship with Kidd eroded during their third year together with the Nets to the point New Jersey fired Scott and promoted assistant coach Lawrence Frank to replace him.
And that’s where the notable omission came Friday night during Kidd’s speech. Frank was not mentioned.
When Kidd was named coach of the Brooklyn Nets shortly after retiring as a player in 2013, one of his first hires was to name Frank as his lead assistant coach. That pairing didn’t last long, with Kidd removing Frank from the bench just weeks into the season.
The pair clashed over Frank’s style on the bench, where Kidd — during a widely reported blowup with Frank — cursed the coach out for talking too much and asserting himself too much during games and practices, as if Frank still saw himself in the head coaching role.
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Kidd spoke most effusively of his second tenure with the Dallas Mavericks, during which he was part of a championship club in 2011 after falling short in the NBA Finals twice with New Jersey.
While thanking owner Mark Cuban effusively and calling out several former teammates in Dallas, Kidd had time to poke a little fun as the greatest Maverick of them all and a future Hall of Famer, Dirk Nowitzki.
“Dirk, I carried you,” Kidd said. “We know. So stop tweeting out that stuff about you carrying me and Steve (Nash, also inducted Friday).”
Nowitzki’s social media activity was similarly in jest.
Kidd was presented by longtime friend and mentor Gary Payton, who was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013. Kidd and Payton, five years older, grew up in Oakland and Kidd honed his skills against the more mature Payton as a teenager.
Kidd also recognized another of Friday night’s inductees, Grant Hill, having a little bit of fun at Hill’s expense regarding Kidd’s California Golden Bears ending the two-year title run of Hill’s Duke Blue Devils in the 1993 NCAA Tournament.
Kidd then got serious, acknowledging Hill’s role in helping to push Kidd during his career. The two were drafted No. 2 (Kidd) and No. 3 (Hill) overall in the 1994 NBA Draft and shared Rookie of the Year honors in 1994-95.
Kidd ended his speech talking about his family, much of which was in attendance, including his mother, Ann Kidd, his wife Porschia and his five children.
For a moment, Kidd stopped speaking and stood at the podium looking out at the crowd.
“I’m done,” Kidd then said. “I just wanted to enjoy this moment.”
Almost as much as anyone with an appreciation for point guard play enjoyed Kidd’s moments on the court.