Former New Jersey Nets great and player ranked #1 on our list of the 30 Greatest Nets of All Time Jason Kidd has retired from the game of basketball, the New York Knicks (Kidd’s current team) announced today. Kidd played 19 years in the NBA, 6 1/2 of them with the New Jersey Nets.
“Jason Kidd was the captain of the Nets during their most successful period in the NBA, and is considered the greatest player in the Nets’ NBA history,” Billy King said in a statement. “On behalf of the entire Brooklyn Nets organization, we congratulate him on his Hall of Fame career.”
The Nets acquired Kidd on July 18, 2001, trading Stephon Marbury, Johnny Newman, and Soumila Samake to acquire Kidd and Chris Dudley from the Phoenix Suns. Kidd joined a New Jersey Nets team in crisis, after three consecutive losing seasons and a reputation around the NBA as a laughingstock.
Kidd proclaimed before the season started that the Nets would be a winning team, and sure enough the Nets doubled their victories from 26 to 52, making it all the way to the NBA Finals before getting swept by the Los Angeles Lakers. While Kidd wasn’t the only factor in the team’s turnaround (Richard Jefferson was a rookie that season, and Kerry Kittles had sat the entire previous year) he was their catalyst. Kidd would finish second in the MVP voting that year, with averages of 14.7 points, 9.9 assists, and 7.3 rebounds per game.
For 506 regular season games and 78 playoff games in six and a half seasons, Kidd controlled the helm in New Jersey. He led the team to six straight playoff appearances and six consecutive seasons of .500 or better, the longest such streak in franchise history.
He was a magician with the basketball. Kidd couldn’t shoot a lick but was remarkably precise with his passes, both in speed and placement, was an elite defender, and one of the league’s best rebounding guards. He finished his Nets career with 4,620 assists, far and away the most of any player in franchise history. He also holds the Nets franchise record for three-point field goals (made and attempted), steals, and ranks fourth overall in points scored.
Now it’s time for me to shut up so we can enjoy Jason Kidd’s best New Jersey Nets moments: