Jason Kidd’s Greatest New Jersey Nets Moments

Jason Kidd
Jason Kidd, introduced to the Nets on July 11, 2001. (AP)

Training Camp, 2001: “We will make the playoffs”

Jason Kidd
Jason Kidd meeting with the press in his first season. (AP)

After being traded to the Nets for Stephon Marbury in the summer of 2001, Kidd gave a speech at the team dinner before the start of training camp. According to Rod Thorn, Kidd said “I don’t care what went on here before. We will make the playoffs.” As said Rod: “Guys were looking at Jason like, ‘What the heck are you talking about?'”

Kidd’s words didn’t register right away with his teammates or the media, and coming off a 26-56 season, who could blame them? This was the Nets, after all. But the statement encompasses the greatest achievement of Kidd as a Nets great: changing the culture of the laughingstock New Jersey Nets overnight.

Kidd wasn’t always an angel to deal with off the court, from domestic violence issues to faked migraines and clashes with coaches. But on the court and in the locker room, no one was better at putting in the hours and making his teammates better. From throwing lobs guys couldn’t get just to keep them on their toes to playing with a “hole in his knee that was as big as a silver dollar (Thorn),” Kidd demanded excellence and led by example.

And so the Nets went from an NBA afterthought to back-to-back Eastern Conference champions immediately after Kidd’s arrival. We will make the playoffs? No Jason: we did make the Finals.

BONUS: Jason Kidd’s Best Highlight Videos On YouTube

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