In his 19-year NBA career. Jason Kidd turned the New Jersey Nets into contenders, won a title in Dallas and did just about everything extremely well. He heads into the Basketball Hall of Fame Friday night as a result.
Jason Kidd will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Friday night, a first-ballot selection based on a 19-year NBA career exemplified by all-around excellence from the point guard position.
Kidd could do just about everything at a high level.
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Need an assist? Kidd averaged 8.7 per game in his career and is second on the NBA’s all-time list with 12,091.
Need a stop? Kidd was a nine-time All-Defensive selection and is second all-time with 2,684 steals.
Need a board? Kidd rebounded as well as any guard who ever played in the NBA, averaging 6.3 boards a game in his career. He was big for a point guard at 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds, but he could rebound like a power forward when the occasion called for it.
His 8,725 rebounds are the most in NBA history by a guard.
He even became a proficient 3-point shooter later in his career, topping the 40 percent mark twice and hitting 34.9 percent for his career, which is not bad at all for a guy whose one weakness was that he was — for all of his other gifts — not a natural shooter, hitting just 40 percent for his career overall.
He was selected to 10 All-Star games over his long career that included parts of eight seasons over two tours of duty with the Dallas Mavericks, parts of seven years with the New Jersey Nets, parts of five seasons with the Phoenix Suns and a final season with the New York Knicks.
Numbers tell some of the story for Kidd — 12.6 points, 8.7 assists, 6.3 rebounds and 1.9 steals per game over 1,391 NBA contests.
Perhaps the most impressive number is 107. That is the number of triple-doubles Kidd racked up in his career, third-most all-time behind Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson and one of just four players (Russell Westbrook being the other) with more than 100.
And upon his arrival to the Nets in 2001, Kidd became known for another important number — wins.
Kidd came to New Jersey and sparked a 26-win turnaround for the Nets in 2001-02, leading a team that had finished 12th in the Eastern Conference the previous season — 15 games out of the playoffs — to the top seed in the East and a spot in the NBA Finals.
To show it wasn’t a fluke, Kidd and the Nets returned to the Finals again in 2003 and made the playoffs in each of Kidd’s six full seasons with the club — the longest run of consecutive playoff berths since the team joined the NBA in 1976.
As a 37-year-old in 2010-11, Kidd had enough left in the tank to average 8.2 assists per game and play 33.2 minutes a night while helping the Mavericks to their only NBA title.
While with the Suns, he had back-to-back seasons averaging double-digit assists and led the league in the category five times in all.
Kidd is one of 13 players and contributors set to be inducted Friday night, with the ceremony beginning at 7 p.m. Eastern on NBA TV.
Six former NBA players will be entering the Hall, with Kidd joined by two other outstanding point guards in two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash and Philadelphia 76ers great Maurice Cheeks. Also entering are all-time 3-point leader Ray Allen, former Detroit Pistons star Grant Hill and Charlie Scott, an All-Star in the ABA and NBA in the 1970s.
Scott was also a pioneer as the first black scholarship player at the University of North Carolina, blazing a trail that many other legends of the game would follow.
Entering the Basketball Hall of Fame as a contributor is another man with deep ties to the Nets, former general manager Rod Thorn. It was Thorn who engineered the trade in 2001 that brought Kidd from Phoenix to New Jersey.
Sir Charles In Charge
The 77-year-old Thorn served three times as the Nets’ GM, from 2000-04, again in 2007-08 and briefly in 2010. He also held that role with the Chicago Bulls from 1978-85, where he drafted some kid named Michael Jordan, and the 76ers from 2010-12.
Thorn also served two stints in the NBA office, as executive vice president of basketball operations for the league from 1986-2000 and as president of basketball operations from 2013-15.
The other inductees include Lefty Driesell, who coached 41 seasons in the collegiate ranks and is the only coach with at least 100 wins at four different schools; international star Dino Radja, who played with the Boston Celtics in the 1990s; and longtime executive Rick Welts, credited with the creation of “All-Star Weekend.”
She was the leader of 11 consecutive Women’s Colored Basketball Championship teams from 1932-42 and is in the Temple University Sports Hall of Fame, per ESPN.com.
Kidd will be presented for induction by another Hall of Fame point guard, Gary Payton. Payton, like Kidd, is a native of Oakland, Calif.
"“People don’t know, J was the first LeBron. He was good. Really, really good. In the Bay Area, that’s what all the talk was about — J-Kidd.”"
Kidd honed his game on the hard courts of Oakland against Payton, five years older. Kidd recalled not being able to score against Payton — at all — over a two-year period.
"“Oh, there were tears. My parents would ask me, ‘What’s wrong?’ I would be like, I think I should pick a different sport because I am not very good at it.“He wouldn’t let me score. He would tell me you are not going to score … that I was soft and that I wasn’t good enough. And for a kid in high school that was built up to be this great high school player, it was very humbling and hard to swallow.“So, it was borderline quit or man up and keep coming back to try to figure out a way to score.”"
How big a deal was Kidd as a high-schooler? Saint Joseph of Notre Dame, a private school with 500 students, often had to move its games to the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Arena — now known as Oracle Arena, home of the Golden State Warriors.
Crowds averaged about 12,000 for Saint Joseph’s games.
Kidd finished his career with 1,988 3-pointers, ninth-most in NBA history, which is a significant achievement for a player who early in his NBA career was derisively called “Ason” because he had no J.
An interesting note about this year’s Hall of Fame inductees — Kidd shared the 1994-95 NBA Rookie of the Year award with Hill. Friday night, the pair will take the shared honors to a whole new level.