Kidd was one of the best at making others better ever and beloved, as well as respected by teammates universally throughout his career. Whether it was helping lead the team that originally drafted him, the Dallas Mavericks to their only championship in 2011 in his second stint with the team, helping the Phoenix Suns to a 16 win improvement in his first full season with the team in 1997-1998, leading the then New Jersey Nets to a 26-game improvement in the 2001-2002 season and it’s first 50-win season in the franchise’s history or more recently just this past season helping be a big part of the New York Knicks 54 win season, which was an 18-game improvement from the previous season and the Knicks first 50-win season since 1999-2000.
As you can see Kidd’s chemistry with teammates helped solidify him as a great leader and teammate that everyone loved to play with throughout his career and opponents respected. That isn’t even including his two stints with the Olympic team where he earned Gold in Sydney in 2000 and Beijing in 2008 with Beijing being the more memorable of the two because of the respect he got from players like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James in helping the the team win it’s first gold since 2000. Kidd’s greatest accomplishment came with the Nets though when he took a perennial loser and switched it around not only to a winner, but a championship contender by leading the team to two straight Finals appearances in 2002 and 2003. The first and only ever appearances by the franchise to that high a ground.
Till you look at his numbers you would never think that Kidd was a sure-fire future first-ballot Hall of Famer let alone a future Hall of Famer because of the way he carried himself on the court, was all-business, did things so quietly and was known more as an impact type player throughout his career rather than for any of his stats. His career averages of 12.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 8.7 assists and 1.9 steals per game don’t look Hall worthy, but when you see the rest of his career numbers and the impact he had on improving teams you could see why he should be a Hall of Famer. Whether it be him being the only player in NBA history to total at least 17,500 points, 8,500 rebounds, 12,000 assists and 2,500 steals for his career or his 12,901 assists being the second most in league history behind John Stockton, whom he is also behind and second in league history for steals. With his assists total being more than current Hall of Famers Magic Johnson and Oscar Robertson, as well as his steals total being more than current Hall of Famers Michael Jordan and Gary Payton.
Known as a liability as a shooter early in his career, the 10-time All-Star, who led the NBA in assists five times during his career became more of a clutch shooter beyond the arc later in his career finishing third for most three-pointers in league history behind only future Hall of Famer Ray Allen and current Hall of Famer Reggie Miller. Kidd also had numerous other ways to make his mark on games throughout his career, whether it be 107 triple-doubles (which are third all-time in the history of the league), his tenacious defense helping him be named to nine All-Defensive teams with four of those being first-team and also being named to six All-NBA teams with five of them being first-team honors.
Kidd is not only one of the last true great players and warriors of his generation, but of any generation the NBA has ever seen and will be sorely missed more than anyone can ever describe or truly know till they realize he’s gone and no longer playing. It’s also almost poetic justice in a way that the future Hall of Famers retirement comes only days after the NBA lost another great player in his 1995 co-Rookie of the Year, Grant Hill.