Jason Kidd played the best years of his career with the New Jersey Nets and these are five Hall of Fame moments from his tenure in Jersey.
Jason Kidd will go down as one of the greatest Nets in the history of the franchise. He was the catalyst on two New Jersey Nets teams that reached the NBA Finals. He never achieved the ultimate goal of bringing a championship to New Jersey, but he brought some incredible moments.
On Friday, Kidd will be enshrined into the Basketball Hall of Fame and his status an all-time great is officially cemented. Of course, Kidd was not a lifetime Net, but he was the catalyst on the best Nets team since the franchise joined the NBA. He had some really successful years with Phoenix and led the league in assists three straight years. He made his name in Dallas and had the storybook ending with the elusive championship.
Whatever the success Kidd had with other teams, Nets fans can always call him one of their own. These moments are the reason why.
5. 2003 First Round vs. Milwaukee Bucks, Game 6
Jason Kidd’s legacy in New Jersey was built on having big games when it counted. He helped kickstart New Jersey’s run to the Finals in 2003 with a triple-double to close out the Milwaukee Bucks in six games.
Kidd’s 22 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists were the difference in the game. His craftiness also gave the Nets a huge momentum boost when he stole an inbounds pass and made a beautiful move to beat the buzzer.
This game propelled the Nets to two straight sweeps against the Celtics and then the Pistons on their way to the NBA Finals. They would eventually fall short against the Spurs, but their run through the Eastern Conference remains one of Kidd’s most impressive accomplishments.
4. The Circus Shot
This shot was about as Jason Kidd as Jason Kidd can be. At a big stage in the game, Kidd makes an unbelievably clutch play to take the air out of his opponent and seal the win.
The only difference this time is that Kidd didn’t just make the shot like a normal human being. He made the shot without even looking at the basket. It takes guts to take this shot at any point in the game, let alone in the waning seconds of a one-possession game. This is why Kidd was so special though. He always had a knack for knocking you off your feet at any moment.
3. 2002 Eastern Conference Finals, Game 6
This one wasn’t one of Kidd’s better games, but that’s part of what made him so great in New Jersey. Even on his off nights, he did everything in his power to win. He only shot 6-for-18 from the floor and 3-for-5 from the free throw line. But he didn’t let poor shooting take him out of the game.
Kidd added 13 assists and 13 rebounds to make his mark on Game 6 and close out the Celtics to secure a spot in the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history. It may not have been his best game in a Nets uniform, but it may have been his most important one.
2. 2003 NBA Finals, Game 2
Th Nets had never won a game in the NBA Finals coming into Game 2 against the San Antonio Spurs. The Nets magical run in 2002 ended when they ran into a Los Angeles Lakers buzzsaw that dispatched of its Eastern Conference counterpart in four games.
The Nets mission in 2003 was to prove they weren’t a fluke. They belonged with the big boys. Unfortunately for New Jersey, the Spurs were the superior team, but the Nets at least proved they could hang with the eventual champions.
In Game 2, Kidd put the squad on his back. He led all scorers with 30 points. Rather than distributing, Kidd saw that his team needed him to put the ball in the bucket himself. The Spurs made a late comeback, but Kidd and New Jersey ended up hanging on by a thread. The series would go the way of the Spurs, but the Nets had finally proved they were a worthy competitor.
1. 2003 Eastern Conference Finals, Game 1
This is it. This is undoubtedly Jason Kidd’s Hall of Fame moment. With time winding down, he was making sure his team left the building with a win. Even with the ensuing double team, Kidd’s only mission was putting the ball through the bucket. The play wasn’t all that deceptive either. Kidd waited out the clock and New Jersey cleared out the right side to allow Kidd all the space in the world to operate.
Although this was only Game 1, Kidd and the Nets completely wrested control of the series right here. New Jersey went on to sweep Detroit and this last-second shot on the road to win the game was a gut punch. It was no easy shot either. Two defenders in his face while fading away from the basket.
The legend’s career in New Jersey can be defined by this moment. But all of these moments are vital reasons for Jason Kidd’s induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame.