Originally posted on Taking Bad Schotz  |  Last updated 6/4/13
It was the summer of 2001, and the Nets had just finished another awful season in the swamps of Jersey. They had finished 31-51, and Rod Thorn was brought in to fix the troubled franchise. The day after the draft, Thorn traded his all-star point guard, Stephon Marbury, to Phoenix for Jason Kidd. Of course Thorn knew that Kidd was an All-Star and an All-NBA type player as well, but he never could have guessed what J-Kidd could possibly do for the franchise or how fast change would come. Photo Credit: (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun) In his first conversation with Thorn, Kidd promised the Nets would be a playoff team, pretty lofty expectations for a team that finished with just 31 wins the year before. Kidd came through on his promise and then some. The point guard led the team to 52 wins, the franchises first 50-win season, an Atlantic Division title, and the first overall seed in the Eastern Conference. Needless to say, this would have been an impressive enough first season in the Meadowlands, but Kidd was not done working his magic. The Nets made it all the way to the NBA Finals, but ran into the LA Lakers who were working on a three-peat and Shaq and Kobe simply wouldn’t be stopped. ’01-’02 was a great success and finally brought good basketball to Continental Airlines Arena (formerly Brendan Byrne, now IZOD Center). For his work in acquiring the future Hall of Fame point guard, Rod Thorn won the Executive of the Year Award. Kidd was named to the All-NBA first team and the All-NBA defensive first team, all in his first year in Jersey. Year two in New Jersey was much of the same results for Jason Kidd and the Nets. The team once again won the Atlantic division, and again made it to the NBA Finals. This year, at least the Nets were able to win a few games before San Antonio took the series 4-2. Kidd could have left New Jersey after the 2003 Finals. In fact, he almost joined the Spurs who had a young unproven French point guard that they just didn’t think would pan out (hint: it’s Tony Parker). So Kidd resigned for six years and $99 million and it looked like he was Net for life. Kidd stuck around and in 2004 got a new sidekick, or maybe became the sidekick, when the Nets acquired Vince Carter in a midseason splash. Kidd and Carter brought even more excitement to the Meadowlands, but the duo could never repeat what Kidd had done in his first two seasons. The Nets never made it back to the NBA Finals, and quite frankly never really made it close. They never had an inside presence after trading Kenyon Martin away, which probably doomed the team more than anything else. Kidd wasn’t getting any younger, and the team seemed ready to move on, so in 2008, the Nets traded the franchise savior to the Dallas Mavericks, the team that drafted him back in 1994. Kidd changed basketball in New Jersey forever. He made so many young kids Nets fans (myself and my brother included). He was instant excitement. A triple-double threat every time he stepped on the court. In fact, in 2007, Jason Kidd and Vince Carter became the first teammates to record triple-doubles in the same game since MJ and Pippen in 1989. Kidd tossed alley-oops to RJ and K-Mart and VC like they were making a classy And1 mixtape. Jason Kidd made people go see the Nets. He made a move to Brooklyn attractive. He made the team attractive to Vince Carter. He gave the people of New Jersey a team to call their own. A team that Jersey residents could root for that wasn’t New York or Philadelphia. The Nets became the team of the state. And none of their success could have happened without Jason Kidd. -Goldberg
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