Born: March 23, 1973 in San Francisco, CA
Position: Point Guard
NBA Career: 1994-2013 (19 seasons)
- Dallas Mavericks (1994–1996)
- Phoenix Suns (1996–2001)
- New Jersey Nets (2001–2008)
- Dallas Mavericks (2008–2012)
- New York Knicks (2012–2013)
- NBA Champion (2011)
- 10x NBA All-Star (1996–1998, 2000–2004, 2007–2012)
- 5x All-NBA First Team (1999–2002, 2004)
- 9x NBA All-Defensive Selection
- 2x Olympic Gold Medalist (2000, 2008)
- 17.0 PPG, 9.1 APG, 6.3 RPG, 2.0 SPG
As a lifelong NBA fan, I‘ve had the pleasure of watching Jason Kidd‘s incredible career unfold over nearly two decades. In my opinion, Kidd is one of the best point guards to ever play the game. His court vision, passing, perimeter defense, rebounding, and leadership made him a truly special player.
In this post, I‘ll provide an in-depth look at Kidd‘s journey in the NBA, his unique skillset, and the lasting impact he made on the league.
The Making of an NBA Legend
After a storied high school and college career, Jason Kidd was drafted 2nd overall in the 1994 NBA Draft by the Dallas Mavericks. He made an immediate impact, sharing Rookie of the Year honors with Grant Hill and leading the league in triple-doubles his first year.
Over ten stellar seasons playing for Dallas, Phoenix and New Jersey, Kidd established himself as an elite floor general. He led the NBA in assists five times, made eight All-Star teams, and led the Nets to back-to-back NBA Finals appearances in 2002 and 2003.
In 2008, Kidd was traded back to Dallas, where he provided veteran leadership to an emerging contender. His guidance and clutch postseason play helped propel the Mavericks to an NBA title in 2011. At age 38, he showed he still had it, averaging 7.9 assists per game in the 2011 playoffs.
After a final year with the Knicks, Kidd retired at age 40 with 12,091 assists (2nd all-time), 107 triple-doubles (3rd all-time) and an NBA championship. For nearly two decades, Kidd captivated crowds with his selfless passing, transition brilliance and ability to impact games without scoring.
A Unique Blend of Skills and Instincts
Jason Kidd succeeded in the NBA thanks to a phenomenal blend of skills and natural instincts. Here are some of the attributes that made him special:
Court Vision and Passing
Kidd‘s court vision was simply sublime. He could read defenses and deliver pinpoint passes with either hand as if he had eyes in the back of his head. His trademark bullet outlet passes thrilled crowds and teammates alike.
Rebounding and Defense
At 6‘4", Kidd used his size, strength and determination to be an elite rebounding guard. He is the only guard to be in the top 5 all-time in defensive rebounds. His quick hands and anticipation also made him a tenacious perimeter defender.
There was no player more dangerous than Kidd in the open floor. He excelled at turning steals and defensive boards into instant fast break points with his speed and heady passing.
Kidd had an incredibly high hoops IQ. He knew where to be on the floor and made winning plays with his smarts and experience. Kidd‘s feel for the game is something that can‘t be taught.
Kidd lived for crunch time. He made countless clutch shots and game-winning plays in the playoffs thanks to his poise under pressure. Kidd always stepped up when it mattered most.
Kidd was the consummate floor general who made his teammates better. He was an extension of the coach on the court, guiding teams with his experience and competitive spirit. Kidd brought out the best in those around him.
Lasting Impact on Basketball
It‘s clear Jason Kidd left an indelible mark on professional basketball during his stellar 19-year career. Here are some of the ways he changed the game:
- Kidd revolutionized the point guard position as a dominant triple-double threat. His all-around brilliance paved the way for today‘s stat-sheet stuffing guards.
- He played with a selfless, pass-first mentality that made teammates better. Kidd‘s example influenced generations of point guards.
- Along with Gary Payton, Kidd ushered in a new era of bigger, stronger guards that could lock down opponents defensively.
- His transition play turned fast breaks into a thrilling spectacle. Kidd made open court passing an art form.
- Off the court, Kidd was a beloved leader and mentor to younger players. His impact within team cultures was immense.
Few players in NBA history can match Kidd‘s incredible achievements over such a long period of time. Both as a player and person, "Jason Kid" set the standard for excellence in the league. He richly deserves his place among the greatest point guards of all time.