After an astonishing 19 seasons in the NBA, Jason Kidd has realized that he isn’t a kid anymore and has decided to retire from the league. The New York Knick turned 40 last season, an age that few athletes are able to reach during their playing days. The writing was on the wall for the veteran point guard, as he was benched for the second half of his last playoff game against the Indiana Pacers.
Had he chosen to continue to play next season, he would have been the oldest player under contract. He is actually older than the Head Coach of the Indiana Pacers, Frank Vogel, who’s team is attempting to make the NBA Finals with a win over the Miami Heat tonight.
Jason Kidd announced his retirement today through the New York Knicks, stating that:
“My time in professional basketball has been an incredible journey, but one that must come to an end after 19 years,” Kidd said in a statement released by the Knicks. “As I reflect on my time with the four teams I represented in the NBA I look back fondly at every season and thank each and every one of my teammates and coaches that joined me on the court.”
Age had begun to take its toll on Kidd this year, as he posted career lows in points and assists during the regular season. He only was able to muster 6.0 points per game and 3.3 assists, eventually losing his spot as a starter. The numbers through the playoffs dipped down even further, perhaps as a result of fatigue from going through a grueling NBA season at 40 years old. In the Knicks’ run to the Eastern Conference Semi Finals, he averaged only 0.9 points per game and 2 assists.
Throughout his career, Jason Kidd was an astonishing assist man, finishing his career ranked second all time in the category. His 12,091 career assists trail only John Stockson’s unbelievable 15,806 assists.
As he retires, Jason Kidd can take pride in his 10 career All-Star game appearances, and NBA title in 2011. He was able to win the NBA Finals in 2011 with the Mavericks, and also made back to back appearances in the Finals with the New Jersey Nets in 2002 and 2003.
The New York Knicks had nothing but praise for the veteran of nearly two decades in professional basketball, despite his numbers dipping considerably from his career averages of 12.6 points per game, 8.7 assists per game, and 1.87 steals per game this year. In the statement released by the team General Manager Glen Grunwald said the following:
“Jason’s value to the Knicks and the National Basketball Association cannot be quantified by statistics alone. Everyone here in New York saw firsthand what a tremendous competitor he is and why Jason is considered to be one of the best point guards, and leaders, the game has ever seen.”
Head Coach Mike Woodson also had high praise for his point guard in the statement, staying that “Jason provided an incredible voice inside our locker room and I considered it an honor to say I coached him.”
High praise for someone who never quite lived up to the expectations that came with the 3 year $9.3 million deal he signed with the team last off season. He is leaving the game with two of the three years remaining on his contract.
Kidd was also able to earn two Olympic Gold Medals in 2000 and 2008 as a member of the United States national basketball team.
Although the retiring Jason Kidd is walking away from the game, he almost certainly will find himself in the Hall of Fame in the near future. He will go down as one of the NBA’s greatest guards to ever play the game, as well as one of the fiercest competitors to step on the court.
A player that inspired many to play the game it was supposed to be played, Kidd was a role model for the league during his 19 seasons, and his decision to retire will surely result in him being missed from the league. He has done wonders off the court through his charity the Jason Kidd Foundation, which is dedicated to ensuring quality resources and education enable youth to achieve everything possible in their lives.
By playing 19 seasons in the NBA before his retirement today, Kidd was a role model for many of the players currently in the league. Both John Wall and Ricky Rubio have stated that Kidd was a role model for them as they worked towards starting a career in the NBA. He defined what a point guard, and professional athlete, was supposed to be throughout his career. He will surely be missed moving forward.
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The Guardian Express