Jason Kidd's longevity isn't easily replicated, and not just due to his health. The announcement of Kidd's retirement on Monday ended a 19-year career that was defined by unselfishness. It was that unselfishness that kept Kidd's career afloat and made him a cog in the Dallas Mavericks' championship run just two years ago.
But don't forget that this was one of the best point guards in the history of the game.
Kidd finishes his career second to John Stockton in career assists and career steals. Kidd struggled with his jump shot early in his career -- it earned him the nickname Ason Kidd because he didn't have a J. The last laugh would be had by Kidd, who turned himself from a 27 percent chucker his rookie season in 1995 to the third-most prolific three-point shooter behind Ray Allen and Reggie Miller.
That perhaps exemplified his career arc as well as anything.
In his prime, to say there has been a player like Kidd before would be inaccurate. His versatility as a 6'4 point guard gave him the ability to do it all with ease. He could rebound and spark the fastbreak, and he led some of the league's best up-tempo offenses of his day. His creativeness in the open court was of wizardry at times. Kidd finished third in NBA history with 105 triple-doubles. That's more than Larry Bird and Wilt Chamberlain, and it only trails Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson.
The second overall pick in the 1994 NBA Draft behind Glenn Robinson and before Hill, Kidd quickly turned into an All-Star and joined Jim Jackson and Jamal Mashburn to turn the Mavs' fortunes upon his rookie season. That year, he shared Co-Rookie of the Year honors with Grant Hill, who also retired this week.
In 1996, Kidd was traded to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for Michael Finley, A.C. Green and Sam Cassell. He played for the Suns until 2001, at first teaming with an aging Kevin Johnson and upstart point guard Steve Nash. Toward the end of his tenure in Phoenix, Kidd was joined by former Orlando Magic guard Penny Hardaway for what was dubbed Backcourt 2000.
Jason Kidd is retiring. Shout out to J-Kidd for a great career and rocking blond hair with the Suns. twitter.com/SportsNation/s…— SportsNation (@SportsNation) June 3, 2013
Injuries hampered the success of the duo, and in 2001 Kidd was traded to the New Jersey Nets for Stephon Marbury. Again, he changed a team's fortunes.
In 2008, the Nets and Mavs agreed upon a deal to ship Kidd back to Dallas with Devin Harris being the return piece. An aging Kidd changed his game with the Mavericks, playing off the ball but continuing to display his defensive-aptitude that over the course of his career earned him nine All-Defensive Team nods.
At 38 years old, Kidd won an NBA title with Dallas. Playing alongside J.J. Barea and Jason Terry in the backcourt while doing his part in defending the Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade, the Mavericks beat Miami's Big Three in six games.
Kidd's one season with the Knicks again displayed his selflessness. Calling his career at 40 years old, he rides off as an easy, first ballot Hall of Famer.
Best thing about Jason Kidd was his development as a shooter.— Shandel Richardson(@ShandelRich) June 3, 2013
Stone Temple Pilots' "Purple" was the No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 the week Jason Kidd was drafted. sbn.to/11zuzcV— Mike Prada (@MikePradaSBN) June 3, 2013