I was born in Oakland. Not raised there. But I always wish I could claim it. Some great basketball players have come out of west Oakland; Brian Shaw (who played at UCSB, my hometown), Bill Russell, Antonio Davis, Cliff Robinson and of course, Jason Kidd.
I remember being in 8th grade and hearing about this kid form Oakland who could handle the ball better than most pros. I would hear things like, "the ball sticks to his hand," "it's like he has it on a string." And just about everything that was mentioned about Jason Kidd I saw when I began following his career at CAL. He was the next Magic Johnson for me. And having been only a few years removed from Magic retiring, and my mother finding me crying behind the living room sofa after his announcement, I made every attempt to vet his game on Magic's. I was happy to find another point guard, from my state, playing at CAL, that I could look up to.
19 years in the league is very long time. And not something most people would have expected out of Jason Kidd. His Gold Medals, Championship, NBA Records almost came quietly. It didn't help that he played amidst perhaps the greatest group of NBA players ever to come around. Talent like Kobe, Carter, McGrady, Shaq, Grant Hill... and he walks away 2nd all time in assists and steals. Having a incredibly accomplished career.
Many will write about Jason Kidd and his accomplishments, what I want to point out is he was the kind of player who found a way to bring a very clean street game to the NBA. He made the transition so well. And for someone like me, who played on asphalt many more times than on hardwood, he was someone I needed to follow.
- arturo gutierrez