NEW YORK -- There will be a video tribute for Jason Kidd's jersey retirement ceremony tonight, complete with cameos from former teammates like Vince Carter and Kenyon Martin.
With the No. 5 jersey going up to the rafters, Martin, Richard Jefferson and former Nets GM Rod Thorn shared some of their favorite memories from the Kidd era.
Here are some of Martin and Jefferson's personal favorites:
MOST MEMORABLE KIDD PASS
Martin has two favorite Kidd passes. One was the famous bowling ball pass against the Knicks at the Meadowlands when Kidd rolled a pass around a Knicks defender past half court with enough spin on the ball that it slowed down in front of Lucious Harris so the guard could pick it up and lay it in.
“Everybody was loving it!” Martin, now with the Knicks, recalled. “I was on the court, and I was like, 'Whoa! Did you all just see that? The ball stopped!' Nobody is doing that these days. Just to put that much English on the ball from afar and throwing that thing and it spun and stopped? That is impressive.”
Martin’s other favorite Kidd pass was one of the countless alley-oops Kidd lobbed to him. This particular one came in a game against the Sixers in Philadelphia.
Kidd drove baseline. With three defenders near him, Kidd left his feet and was heading underneath the basket and seemed to be going nowhere. But he saw Martin coming down the middle, and the ball somehow found Martin, who threw it down.
“Of course, there are a lot of them in the three years we played together,” Martin said. “But the one that stands out is we were in Philly. He jumped out of bounds and I thought he was going to throw it to the corner and he saw me coming down and he flipped the ball up to me.”
Jefferson’s favorite pass from Kidd came at Madison Square Garden, where Kidd loved putting on a show. Kidd took an outlet pass at half court and tapped it past his head to a streaking Jefferson near the free throw line for a dunk, all with his back turned.
Here’s a Kidd highlight video that has Martin’s favorite alley-oop at the 1:12 mark and Jefferson’s favorite Kidd pass around the 1:36 mark.
MOST UNBELIEVABLE THING THEY SAW KIDD DO
Jefferson said the most amazing play he ever saw Kidd make came against the Bulls. He drove baseline and ended up in the middle of the paint before flinging a no-look shot high off the glass and in with his back turned to the basket. Here’s the shot at the 2:16 mark, which even Jay Z enjoys.
“He didn’t like [Scott] Skiles [who coached Kidd in Phoenix before coaching Chicago],” Jefferson said. “And we were playing them late in a game and he got an offensive rebound and he drives baseline and there was like two seconds to go [on the shot clock]. He turned opposite of the basket because I think the defender thought he was going to bring it out, and he flipped it up behind his head high off the glass.
“It was one of the craziest things I ever saw. I didn’t know what he was doing or where he was going. It was one of the most amazing shots. ... The crowd went nuts because they didn’t know what on earth they had just seen. You saw his best when he was at his most competitive against somebody that he really wanted to beat. And that was awesome.”
Martin said he will never forget how Kidd tried to put the Nets on his back despite playing basically on one leg. Kidd would eventually need microfracture surgery on his knee, but he willed the Nets to a 127-120 triple-overtime victory in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against Detroit in 2004. The Nets ultimately lost in seven games, but Martin still is in awe of Kidd, who had 16 points, eight assists, five rebounds, three steals and two blocks in that triple-OT game.
“Everybody said he is not a great shooter, not this or that,” Martin said. “He still put us on his back. Just the way he approached it, overtime after overtime, you could tell he was like we were going to win this game. And his knee was bothering him.
“It let us know you can play through anything at this level and what type of person he is and the way he cares for his family and everybody, just a great person. A great basketball player but a better person. He cares and has heart.”