Jason Kidd announced his retirement on Monday, ending his career with near universal acclaim from his peers and former players. After winning his first and only NBA championship with the Dallas Mavericks, the combination of the title and a gritty swan song on this year’s high-profile New York team has allowed Kidd to finish his 20-year career near the top.
He finished second in NBA history in both assists (12,091) and steals (2,684), behind hall-of-famer John Stockton, and was a 10-time All-Star and two-time Olympic gold medal winner. He is considered one of the best point guards in NBA history.
After an accomplished college career at California where he won National Freshman of the Year in his first season and first team All-American in his second, Kidd left after his sophomore year where he was drafted second overall by the Dallas Mavericks in 1994. He earned Co-Rookie of the Year with Grant Hill, who retired the day before Kidd.
In his third year with the Mavericks, Kidd was traded to Phoenix. He lead the Suns to five playoff appearances in five years. In 2001, his last season with the Suns, he made national headlines after pleading guilty to a domestic abuse charge for assaulting his wife. That offseason he was traded in a blockbuster move to New Jersey in a deal that involved fellow All-Star Stephon Marburry.
With the Nets he grew his national reputation, in part through his new team’s nearly unprecedented run of success and his ability to lead them through deep playoff runs. In his first two seasons in New Jersey, the team made back-to-back Finals appearances (2001-2002 and 2002-2003), falling to the Lakers and Spurs, respectively. He averaged nearly 20 points-per-game during those two post-seasons, as well as nearly nine assists and eight rebounds. He lead the team to four-consecutive playoff appearances after that, but could never replicate the post-season success of his first two years.
Kidd was traded to the Mavericks in 2008 in another blockbuster trade. In 2011 he started all 21 of Dallas’ playoff games on the way to leading the franchise to it’s first-ever championship, securing the top highlight in Kidd’s career.