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A sitdown with Jason Kidd

By David Aldridge, for NBA.com
POSTED: Oct 17, 2013 9:32 PM ET

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Jason Kidd thanks the fans at Barclays Center, where his No. 5 jersey was retired.

Before Jason Kidd's much-anticipated pregame jersey retirement ceremony in Brooklyn, the current coach and former player with the Nets sat down with NBA.com writer David Aldridge to talk about his new career phase.

DAVID ALDRIDGE: Thank you for stopping by, especially on a game day. All right. Now that you're doing this, name me the two or three former coaches of yours that you're gonna apologize to immediately. (Laughter]

JASON KIDD: Oh, I've already apologized to Danny Ainge. I saw him the other night. Dick Motta would be another. And I saw Rick Carlisle this summer, so I would apologize to him, too, for being stubborn.

Kidd on Coaching

ALDRIDGE: Right. How did you explain this career change to your wife?

KIDD: Well, I think it's kind of funny. I mean, we talked about it. She thought it was a great idea, but I think first two weeks of work, she was like, 'These are long days,' but it's been a great transformation of player to coach. But also, I think, it's been a lot of fun for my family because now, when she comes to the games with the kids she's like,'"I'm not looking for you on the court. I'm watching you on the bench,' and so we're having fun with that.

Nets Retire Kidd's Jersey

ALDRIDGE: Every great player who became a coach has said the same thing to me. It's the loss of control that drives you crazy because you're used to controlling the game. What do you do with that angst?

Jason Kidd: Nets Top10

KIDD: Well, I think I give my guys [that] trust. From day one, that was the biggest thing we talked about is that 'I can call a timeout, but I can't defend or make shots anymore, so I trust in you guys to be able to do that -- to execute the game plan.' But the biggest thing is trust me. If there's a run, I don't have to always call the timeout; I trust you that you guys will get a stop, and you'll find a way to score the ball on the other end. Because this isn't a young team. This is a team that's been tested, individually, you know, guys from Boston, and then the guys that were here. So, we just need to combine that and show that, look, we have to trust each other, but also communicate, and those are the things that we've worked on.

ALDRIDGE: But that's a Phil Jackson thing, though.

KIDD: It's something that I've seen, just not from Phil but also from [Gregg Popovich]. When your guys trust you, they'll go the extra mile -- do the extra thing, come in early, stay late, watch video -- and that's something, when you look around the league, you see Pop, you see Phil, and they've had a lot of success with that, so why not try to copy it?

ALDRIDGE: When you talked to those guys this summer, did they immediately talk to you as a coach, or did you still think there was a coach-player vibe there?

KIDD: No. I think all the coaches that I ran into this summer have all been great from Doc [Rivers] to Pat Riley, you know, listening to them talk about their story of when they got started It sounded very familiar to mine, and so just listening to them and also asking them questions after the fact of what worked, what didn't work, and the biggest thing that comes back is be yourself, trust that you know basketball, but trust your gut and always be honest and just communicate, and you'll be fine.

ALDRIDGE: What have you found that you can't do anymore because there simply isn't enough time?

KIDD: Nap.

ALDRIDGE: [Laughter]

KIDD: You know, as a player, you do shoot-around. You got plenty of time to take a nap, have lunch. As a coach, after shoot-around, it's more film, more talking to your staff about what you're trying to accomplish, so naps have kind of gotten pushed away.

ALDRIDGE: Yeah. You're taking the Bird kind of CEO approach it looks like.

KIDD: Yeah. You know, I have a great staff around me -- Lawrence Frank, John Welch, Joe Prunty, Roy Rogers -- guys that have been coaching and understand not only what it takes to coach but also understand and be able to draw up a play in five seconds. I understand that I haven't gotten there yet, but I continue to practice with the board. But these guys have done it, so for me, it's to go in and talk to the guys with what I see that they're doing right and wrong, and if there's an offensive play that I can call that they already know, we go with it. But I've always asked, "Do we need to draw it up?" So, Frank or Welch are there to be able to draw up the play if guys need to see it.

ALDRIDGE: I'm sure you have a favorite play. I'm sure you've got something that over the years you say, "Yeah. I really like that one."

KIDD: Yeah. There's some plays that I'm comfortable with drawing, but in the preseason, this is all about being able to give new things to guys and see how they execute, so we can always go during the season to my favorite go-tos, but this is also for us to get better. The train's moving, so I got to be able to feed guys new stuff and see how they accept it on the fly. Can they execute what we draw up, or can they execute what we talk about? And those are things -- as a player, yes, you can do it, but now as a coach, can they -- it's out of your hands, and did you communicate it to them right, or did you leave something out? So those are the things that I'm going through.

ALDRIDGE: How will you critique yourself as a coach?

KIDD: You know, I think trusting myself, being able to take in the information and being able to deliver it. That's the one thing I will always give myself a grade at the end of the night. There's a lot of information being thrown my way. How did I process it, and how did I deliver it to the guys?

ALDRIDGE: Yeah. Who do you -- I don't know if "confide in" is the right word -- but who will you kind of bounce ideas off of?

KIDD: Everyone. I've come with kind of the approach of there's an open table. You know, come to the table with it, bring it to the board, and let's discuss it, and then I'll make a decision do we go with it or not? Maybe we keep it on the board because maybe it's not the right time for that, but I love more information. The better off I'll be, but also the team.

ALDRIDGE: When you were thinking about wanting to be a coach, did Brooklyn immediately jump to mind, or was it just, "I'm going to look around and see what's out there?"

KIDD: Well, the discussion of becoming a coach was something that took back some years ago, but opportunity and timing is everything. When I got traded here, timing and everything, the pieces fit, and we kind of ran with it. And it's almost the same feel, becoming the coach, timing, coming to Brooklyn and having the opportunity to coach some of the greatest players in the world.

ALDRIDGE: Other than being here for practice, is anything the same?

KIDD: That's about it. Just the practice court. This building is the same, but everything else is different from the uniforms to the arena, but it's become a very special and a very hot brand.

ALDRIDGE: What kind of sense of responsibility do you feel towards that?

KIDD: Oh, it's a huge responsibility now being the head coach. It's a lot different than a player. For me as a point guard, it was just the guys on the court. Well, now it's the guys on the court, it's the guys on the bench, it's my coaching staff, and so there's a lot more that comes with being a head coach.

ALDRIDGE: All the great point guards anticipate. I know you did, so what do you anticipate it's gonna be like when you have to jump into Kevin Garnett for blowing an assignment, or for not getting back, or for whatever it is?

KIDD: Well, I think that goes back to what we talked about, trust and respect. Our opening dinner for training camp, I told the guys, "Look. I want everyone in this room to be successful. I'm not here to not play you. I'm not here to hold you back from being successful. So you have to trust me, but everyone in this room has to first start with respect one another."That's the biggest thing, so for me, if KG misses an assignment, he wants to be called on it, he wants to be driven. The best players in this league are the players in this league that want to be driven; they want to be coached, and that's what separates them from just being average. That takes them to a whole 'nother level.

ALDRIDGE: Who did that for you? Who was really good at getting the most out of you?

KIDD: Oh, Carlisle was great, you know. When you talk about pushing the envelope, we always as players want freedom until you get freedom. How do you handle it? Structure. So that was something that was big when we had the success in Dallas is that, again, every player wants freedom, but how do you handle that freedom?

ALDRIDGE: What lessons did you take from that season, from winning that championship?

KIDD: Well, I think just family, you know, having that family environment. We spent a lot of time together, going to dinners, but just also our basketball IQ. We weren't the fastest team, we weren't the most athletic team, but we played together. Win or lose, we trusted when we took the floor that it wasn't just gonna be one guy that was gonna win the game. Now there might be Dirk [Nowitzki]who makes the winning shot or helps us win, but it was gonna be a team effort, and that's what made that team special.

ALDRIDGE: Similarities to this team, you think?

KIDD: [A lot], you know. We're not very fast, we might not be very athletic, but we have -- basketball IQ is very high, we all understand how to play -- we're playing for letters in the sense of wins and losses, not for money. It's about championships, and everybody wants to say, "You have a window." Well, our window is now, and we all understand that in that locker room.

ALDRIDGE: Have you actually spent any time with Mikhail Prokhorov yet?

KIDD: Just at the press conference. We spent a little time together. When you talk about an owner who wants to win, well, he's definitely shown that by putting this team together.

ALDRIDGE: Is that in any way odd to you that haven't spent much time at all with the person who hired you?

KIDD: He's always watching, and he'll give a call once in a while just to check in and see how things are going.

ALDRIDGE: If you had to coach 21-year-old Kidd now, how would you coach him?

KIDD: I would first have to listen to him, and then I think right after he got done saying something, I would say, "You don't know it all and just be patient and just accept the challenge of going against the best basketball players in the world. And, if you listen, you might have a chance."

ALDRIDGE: I know you don't want to make too much out of what's gonna happen tonight, but as you see that jersey going up, what do you think is going to be going through your head?

KIDD: Umm ... well, we're playing LeBron James tonight, but I think it's just a great honor. When you look at it as a whole, it's just not my number or my name going up, but it's my teammates. It's at the time the New Jersey Nets, and the run that we did have as a whole as a team from the owners all the way down to the ball boys here in the swamp was very -- it was very impressive. I mean, opening night we'd have maybe 4,500 people, but we knew walking out on that court that we had a chance to win, and that was the biggest thing and thrill is that we knew that we had a chance to win and that we maybe had something special.

ALDRIDGE: Did you ever sit down and write down how much money you've made other players over the years?

KIDD: I haven't, I haven't. I always hear that, but I've always believed that they've also helped me. It's a partnership, that they've helped me with, again, tonight's jersey going up but also winning a championship, also making money, but I've helped them, but they've also helped me.

ALDRIDGE: As you look at your team this year, what do you see?

KIDD: A bunch of guys who know how to play, that are hungry to win. Everyone might talk about their age, but at the core of this team, they're young. We have a point guard who's under 30, our center is under -- I think he's 25 years old, so he's compared to be one of the best in the league. So I look at a team that's very talented and very hungry and very excited about this opportunity to try to win.

ALDRIDGE: What does Deron Williams need to do better?

KIDD: Just be himself. Everybody talks about being unselfish. He's already unselfish. Does he need to shoot more? Well, he can average 20 points if he wants. I think Deron just needs to be -- we need to raise the bar for him as a staff, but also as teammates, but also just let him be himself, and I think we'll be all right.

ALDRIDGE: Do you think you would have been interested in this job if they hadn't made the trade with Boston?

KIDD: I was interested before that, before the trade. I was prepared to go with the team if I got the job with the team that they had. The excitement of having a young point guard that hopefully I can help, but not just him but the whole team, of understanding that it takes more than just one guy to win. And if you have that mentality that it's everybody, you'll find a way to be consistently and that you'll win a lot more games than you lose.

ALDRIDGE: What have you had to change in terms of how you live your life since you've become coach?

KIDD: Well, I think for me it's I have a family and two young kids at home, and to come home -- a lot of times, I leave before they wake up. A lot of times, I get home and they're going to sleep, and so days off or when I do have time, you try to spend as much time with your family as you can.

ALDRIDGE: Yeah. What did you tell them about the DWI? Did you tell them anything, or did it just kind of not come up?

KIDD: Uh, family-wise? It's just we make mistakes, no matter what it may be. Accidents do happen, and when things happen, you have to be responsible, one, and two is learn from it but never run from it. That's something that I've always done, and so understand that when you make a mistake you learn from it, and hopefully somebody else can learn from it, too.

ALDRIDGE: What did you learn?

KIDD: Well, you know, understand that you can't do it all. You're not Superman, you're not invincible. That when you do make a bad decision things can happen. There's probably times when people feel like they can get home, and it just takes one, and it only took one, and I've learned my lesson from that one accident.

ALDRIDGE: You have this unique perspective of having played for the Knicks and now being the coach of the Nets, so do you buy into the rivalry at all?

KIDD: It's a new rivalry because both teams are on that other side of the river, and it's big. You have two teams fighting for a championship, and I think it's still in its infant stage, but it's high, and it's great for the city.

ALDRIDGE: What are you hearing when you're out on the street, people talking about it?

KIDD: Well, it's funny because you see a lot of Brooklyn stuff. It's a hot brand, and it's a hot team, and there's a lot of excitement about Brooklyn itself, and so it's good. You still see your Knicks stuff, your orange and blue, but I kind of compare it to Nike and Under Armour. You have the gorilla that's been around for so long, and now you have this upcoming brand that's coming, and so that's kind of the way that I've talked to people about it, but it's exciting.

ALDRIDGE: I wanted to ask you this, and this is kind of an odd question, speaking of that. What was your favorite shoe that you wore?

KIDD: Probably the 95 Zoom, and I've had a couple pair that were leftover, and I don't know how I wore it. It was a little heavy compared to today's technology. So if I had today's technology back in '95, I'd probably still be playing.

ALDRIDGE: But you've got all the old ones, though, don't you?

KIDD: I still have all the old ones, and Nike was very -- they always pushed the envelope, and it's by far the best company, so I've had a lot of nice-looking shoes and shoes that have done well, and a lot of these younger players that have always talked about they had this shoe when they were five or six years old.

ALDRIDGE: Do you ever get used to that? Because I know everybody -- it's Iverson, and it's you, and it's some of the guys that played in the '90s. Do you ever get used to players come up to you and saying, "You were my idol growing up"?

KIDD: It hurts.

ALDRIDGE: [Laughter]

KIDD: They put you right in your spot real quickly of saying, "Hey. I patterned my game after you." Or, "You know, you were my idol growing up," because that makes you old.

ALDRIDGE: Two more things. Is there any part of you that wants to un-retire just for a day so you can make one basket so you don't have to live with that 0-for-17 ever again?

KIDD: No. You know, I'd rather keep that. I came in the league as a non-scorer, and I left as a non-scorer, so we'll keep that intact.

ALDRIDGE: Last thing. What will you do if a player tries to run into you deliberately while you're standing on the sideline?

KIDD: Well, I sit a lot, so if he comes and jumps on -- then he's gonna have to seek me out of the bench, but I'll make sure I stay off the court because I would hate for that to happen to me because I've used that before, so I'll make sure I stay in my spot.

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