Brooklyn's head coach to have his No. 5 raised to rafters on Oct. 17
By John Torenli, Sports Editor
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Jason Kidd, the greatest player in New Jersey Nets history and Brooklyn's newly hired first-year coach, will receive the ultimate honor next month when our borough's NBA franchise raises his No. 5 to the rafters of the Barclays Center.
“This is a very humbling honor and one that I will always cherish," gushed Kidd, who spearheaded the then-New Jersey Nets to their only two NBA Finals appearances in 2002 and 2003.
The Nets, entering their second full season in Brooklyn, will hold a special pregame ceremony for Kidd's jersey retirement in advance of their Oct. 17 exhibition contest against the two-time defending world champion Miami Heat on the corners of Atlantic and Flatbush Avenues. The game will be nationally televised on TNT and locally on the Nets' YES Network.
Kidd, who was hired this offseason to help the Nets reach their ultimate goal of capturing their first NBA crown after a surefire 19-year Hall of Fame career on the hardwood, will become just the sixth player in franchise history to have his number retired.
The 40-year-old San Francisco native will join Drazen Petrovic (#3), "Super" John Williamson (#23), Bill Melchionni (#25), Julius "Dr. J" Erving (#32) and Charles "Buck" Williams (#52), who was the most recent honoree in April, 1999.
“My warmest congratulations to Jason as we commemorate his outstanding career as an NBA player and his unparalleled contribution to the Nets franchise,” Nets Principal Owner Mikhail Prokhorov said in a team-issued statement. "As one chapter closes, another will soon be written and I know that we are all looking forward to Jason’s continued successes.”
The Nets' team captain and undisputed floor leader from 2001-08, Kidd guided the Nets to six straight playoff appearances, including two Eastern Conference crowns and four Atlantic Division titles.
Though the Nets lost in the Finals to the Los Angeles Lakers (2002) and San Antonio Spurs (2003), respectively, Kidd was the player most responsible for the team's halcyon days during that era, and hopes to be the one to lead them back to championship-contender status as head coach.
"This honor is richly deserved," Nets General Manager Billy King said of Kidd's jersey retirement. "Jason is firmly established in the Nets' record books as the greatest player in the team's NBA history, and the retirement of his #5 is a fitting conclusion to his legacy as a Nets' player."
Kidd ranks second all-time in NBA history in assists (12,091) and steals (2,684). He also captured an NBA title in 2011 as a member of the Dallas Mavericks, as well as two Olympic Gold medals (2000 Sydney and 2008 Beijing) with Team USA.
Now, the former 10-time NBA All-Star will turn his attention to fulfilling Prokhorov's mandate of delivering a major pro sports title to Brooklyn for the first time since 1955, when the Dodgers edged the Yankees in seven games in the World Series.
"There can be no greater recognition of an athlete's time with any team than to have his number retired," Kidd added. "And this gesture by the Nets organization validates a very significant portion of my career that was spent as a player with this franchise."