At some point next season, the Dallas Mavericks should have one of those memorable days when they roll out the red carpet and retire Jason Kidd’s No. 2 jersey.
Invite Kidd’s entire family for the proceedings and any other appropriate dignitaries.
I get that owner Mark Cuban didn’t like the way Kidd changed his mind last summer and decided to sign a three-year, $9 million free agent contract with the New York Knicks instead of taking the same offer he promised Cuban he would sign with the Mavericks. But that’s just business.
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Put your big-boy blue jeans on and deal with it.
Without Kidd, there wouldn’t be a Mavericks championship banner in the American Airlines Center rafters. There never would have been a championship parade, and we never would have heard Dirk Nowitzki butcher We Are The Champions in his own identifiable way.
Thanks to Kidd — and to Dirk and others, of course — those memories are able to exist.
For 19 spellbinding years, Kidd patrolled NBA hardwoods with all the grace of a ballet dancer on stage at Carnegie Hall. The kid who grew up in Oakland, Calif., and who idolized Gary Payton was like Gene Kelly in sneakers, a virtual whiz with the basketball.
Kidd, 40, probably could have played until he was 50 years old. And he probably desired to.
But while Kidd’s mind wanted to pump out a few more of those breath-taking assists — and at least one more championship — his body had other ideas. Thus, on Monday, Kidd announced his retirement from the NBA.
It seems just like yesterday when Kidd merrily entered the bowels of Reunion Arena almost 19 years ago this month after the Mavericks made him the No. 2 overall pick in the 1994 NBA Draft. At the time, little did Mavericks fans know how much he would forever change the game and what type of impact he would have on this franchise.
A strong case can be made that the only point guards to ever play this game more efficiently than Kidd are Magic Johnson, Oscar Robertson and John Stockton. And that might even be fudging it by a player or two.
As far as playmakers with the majestic flair of Penn & Teller, only Magic topped Kidd. And even that is a close 1-2 race in that department.
One race that won’t be close is what team Kidd should represent when he becomes a first-ballot entry into the Basketball Hall of Fame. While Kidd played more regular-season games for the Nets (506) than any other franchise, he should go into the Hall representing the Mavericks, for whom he played 500 games while also being the guiding force when Dallas captured the 2011 NBA title.
Throughout his sterling career, Kidd accumulated 105 triple-doubles. The top six active players on that list — LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, Lamar Odom and Chris Paul — have combined for 103 career triple-doubles.
What separates Kidd from most others is that he also was a terrific big-body defender, a vocal locker room leader and a sort of coach on the court. He knew how to control the game’s tempo with his mind, body, spirit and intellect.
In essence, Kidd was as close to being a complete basketball player as there ever was.
Kidd entered the NBA after his sophomore season at Cal, with a questionable jump shot but uncanny court vision. Kidd knew his weakness and worked on his shot to the point that now his 1,988 3-point baskets rank third all-time, trailing only Ray Allen (2,857) and Reggie Miller (2,560).
He is second in career assists (12,091) and steals (2,684), third in minutes (50,111), seventh in games (1,391) and was a 10-time All-Star.
If there was a flaw in his game, Kidd worked hard to correct it. If there was a flaw in a teammate’s game, that player could lean on Kidd for advice.
Kidd’s exceptional basketball IQ makes him a strong candidate to run an NBA front office or coach a team.
Either way, the Mavs would be wise to pick up the phone and get Kidd on Line 1 — he’s a free agent again — and talk about retiring his jersey.