Jason Kidd

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Jason Frederick Kidd (born March 23, 1973, in San Francisco, California) is an American Allstar professional basketball player. He currently plays for the New Jersey Nets, after playing for the Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns.

He is currently the starting point guard and captain for the New Jersey Nets of the National Basketball Association. He led the Nets to two consecutive NBA Finals appearances (2002 and 2003) and is considered to be one of the best players of his generation, one of the greatest playmakers in NBA history and also one of the greatest point guards in NBA history. His on-court versatility also makes him a regular triple-double threat, and he is in third place all-time for triple-doubles in the NBA with a career total of 83 (as of January 22, 2007).

Early life and college

Kidd was born in San Francisco, the oldest of three children of Steve and Anne Kidd. His father was African-American and his mother Irish Catholic. He was raised in the Oakland hills, an upper middle class section of Oakland, just outside San Francisco, California. He attended Saint Paschals Baylon school in the Oakland Hills. He frequented the city courts of Oakland, where he often found himself pitted against future NBA All-Star Gary Payton. The two still reminisce about the playing days of their youth. During his youth, Kidd also excelled in soccer as well as other sports.

After graduating from St. Joseph Notre Dame High School in Alameda, California, where he also led his team to back-to-back California Division 1 state titles, Kidd attended the University of California, Berkeley. His successful collegiate career as a star point guard was topped off by his selection as a First Team All-American during his sophomore year, after which Kidd subsequently opted to enter the NBA Draft in 1994.

NBA career

[edit] Rising star: From Dallas to Phoenix He was selected as the second pick overall by the Dallas Mavericks, behind Glenn Robinson of Purdue. In his first year he averaged 11.7 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 7.7 assists, sharing 1995 NBA Rookie of the Year honors with Grant Hill of the Detroit Pistons. He was a member of the "Three J's" in Dallas along with Jim Jackson and Jamal Mashburn, and many hoped that the trio would lead Dallas to success for years to come; however, that plan did not come to fruition, as all three found themselves playing for other teams shortly thereafter. Kidd was traded to the Phoenix Suns along with Tony Dumas and Loren Meyer for Michael Finley, A.C. Green, and Sam Cassell during the 1996-97 season. In 2001, after five seasons in Phoenix in which the team made the playoffs each year under Kidd, he was traded to the New Jersey Nets for Stephon Marbury.

Face of a franchise: New Jersey Nets

The 2001-02 season saw Kidd lead the Nets to a surprising 52-30 finish, and marked one of his best all-around seasons as he finished second to the Spurs' Tim Duncan in MVP voting. Many have argued that Kidd deserved to win the award because of his impact in New Jersey—transforming the Nets from perennial league doormats into championship contenders seemingly in the space of a single training camp. His contribution to the Nets during his first season in New Jersey was huge, and resulted in one of the greatest turnarounds in NBA history. He was also fortunate to join the team when he did, as the team reaped the benefits of the newly healthy Kenyon Martin and Kerry Kittles, and the trading of Eddie Griffin for Richard Jefferson and Jason Collins.

Under Kidd's guidance, the young Nets team prospered through the playoffs and ended up advancing all the way to the Eastern Conference title and the franchise's first-ever appearance in the NBA Finals. However, New Jersey's season would end without an improbable NBA crown, as Kidd and the Nets were swept in four games by Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant's Los Angeles Lakers. However, New Jersey enjoyed another stellar season under the helm of Kidd's leadership in the 2002-03 NBA season, during which the team finished 49-33 and reached the NBA Finals once again, only to succumb to Tim Duncan's San Antonio Spurs in six games.

On July 1, 2004, Kidd underwent microfracture surgery to repair a damaged knee. He made a full recovery and returned to the court in December of that year, during which the Nets acquired star swingman Vince Carter from the Toronto Raptors. With the Nets hanging on the prospect of missing the playoffs for the first time since 2001 and with Jefferson injured, Carter and Kidd combined to fuel the team to a late regular-season surge that enabled them to inch past the Cleveland Cavaliers for the eighth and final playoff berth in the East. However, their season would come to an end early as they fell in four games to top-seeded Miami in the first round.

In the 2005-06 NBA season Kidd averaged 13.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 8.4 assists (5th in the league). Although he has gained in age, the 33-year old Kidd's skills don't appear to be diminished, especially on the defensive end. This is evident as he continues to hold some of the NBA's premier point guards to well below their respective performance levels [citation needed].

Growing legacy: Next 10

On February 18, 2006 as a reference to the NBA's 60th anniversary, TNT aired the "Next 10", a program consisting of the network's sixteen NBA analysts that selected 10 players who, in their minds, merit inclusion into the NBA's 50 all-time greatest players list. Kidd was chosen at #9.

Personal life

In January 2001, Jason Kidd was arrested and pleaded guilty to a domestic abuse charge for assaulting his wife Joumana in anger. As part of his plea, Kidd was ordered to attend anger management classes for six months. Kidd completed the mandatory counseling and continued to attend on his own and it was reported that Kidd has since given up alcohol. He and his wife were both active in their church and were thought to have completely reconciled. On January 9, 2007, Jason Kidd filed for divorce against his wife, citing "extreme cruelty" during their relationship. The couple have three children (Trey Jason (T.J.), and twins Miah and Jazelle).[2]

In January 2007, Kidd got fined $20,000 dollars for calling a group of referees including head referee Dan Crawford the Three Blind Mice after a controversial call that caused a 101-102 loss to the Detroit Pistons.