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NBA 75 Series #45 Jason Kidd

Ranked #45 in my NBA 75 Greatest Players of All Time is one of the greatest floor generals, rebounding, and defensive guards of all time, and that is one of California’s finest, Jason Kidd. Kidd was born in San Francisco, California on March 23, 1973 to his father Steve, who was Afrrican-American, and mother Anne, who was Irish-American. Kidd was the oldest of six children, and was a very talented athlete from a very young age.

Kidd also garnered numerous all-star and MVP awards on the AAU circuit growing up and would play at the East Oakland Youth Development Center, where he would play against Oakland native, and NBA legend, Gary Payton to better his game. He would attend St. Joseph Notre Dame High School in Alameda, California, where he would help lead the Pilots to back–to-back state championships, averaging 25 points, 10 assists, 7 rebounds, and 7 steals per game his senior year.

He would also receive prestigious individual honors due to his astounding play, such as the Naismith Award (given to the nation’s top high school player), a McDonald's All-American , California Player of the Year twice, and player of the year by Parade and USA Today. Kidd would finish as the all-time prep leader in assists (1,155), and California’s seventh highest scorer all-time in points (2,661).

After a fabulous high school career, the highly touted point guard would commit to play for the University of California Golden Bears in his hometown over other top colleges such as Kentucky, Arizona, Kansas, and Ohio State that also were pursuing Kidd. Coming to a team that had a 10-18 record the year prior to his arrival, Kidd would instantly bring a sense of joy back to the program by helping lead the Golden Bears to a NCAA Tournament berth where they would upset the Duke Blue Devils that had Grant Hill and Christian Laettner, eventually losing to Kansas in the Sweet Sixteen.

Kidd continued resurging the Golden Bears program his sophomore season with averages of 16.7 points, 6.9 rebounds, 3.1 steals, and 9.1 assists per game, breaking his previous school record for most assists in a season with 272, which also led the nation. After his freshman year saw him take National Freshman of the Year and a All-Pac 10 selection, Kidd would continue his excellence being selected as a first team All-American, as well as Pac-10 Player of the Year, becoming the first sophomore to receive the honor.

The Golden Bears would make the NCAA Tournament again as a fifth seed, but would be upset in the first round by Dick Bennett’s Wisconsin-Green Bay team 61-57. Kidd would be named a finalist for both the Naismith and Wooden Awards as college basketball’s best player.

Kidd would enter his name in the 1994 NBA Draft and would be selected second overall to the Dallas Mavericks, behind Glenn Robinson of Purdue, and just ahead of Grant Hill. In his first year, he averaged 11.7 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 7.7 assists, leading the NBA in triple-doubles as a rookie! He would go on to share the 1995 NBA Rookie of the Year honors with Hill of the Detroit Pistons. Kidd would go on to become a star, making the All-Star Game in just his second season.

Kidd would never lead the Mavericks to the playoffs in his first stint there but would eventually join the Suns and become the best point guard in the league. While he became a big star in Phoenix, he became an even bigger star on The New Jersey Nets, where he was traded to in July of 2001 for Stephon Marbury and others.

He would help lead the Nets to back-to-back Finals appearances (doubling their win total in his first season) in 2002 and 2003, their two most successful seasons in their 45 years since the NBA/ABA Merger. Kidd would finish second in MVP voting in 02 behind Duncan and won nine playoff series as a Net, losing just once in the first round. He would eventually force his way back to the Mavericks in a trade in 2008 and would eventually win a championship as a role player in 2011 with Dirk and the crew.

Kidd would become one of the best point guards in NBA history, known for his uncanny vision and creativity with his passing as if he had eyes in the back of his head. Being a strong, big guard at 6-foot-4, Kidd was able to see over the defense, helping him become second in assists all-time (12,091) and be an elite defender, becoming second all-time in steals (2,684). Kidd also was a triple-double machine in his prime, with 107 in his career, good for fourth all-time, behind Russell Westbrook, Oscar Robertson, and Magic Johnson in that order.

Made front of by commentators early in his career, calling him “Ason Kidd” because of his lack of a jumper. He would eventually end up third on the all-time threes when he retired, and currently 11th all-time. He is one of the best passers and floor generals of all-time.

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