Jason Kidd, Rod Thorn Inducted Into Basketball Hall of Fame
Thorn's acquisition of Kidd in 2001 paved way for franchise's greatest era
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- His speech apparently complete, Jason Kidd paused and let the moment linger, staring straight ahead as silence settled in the room. Was there something else he had to say?
"I'm done," he finally said. "I just wanted to enjoy this moment."
It was a moment worth savoring for the former Nets point guard, who joined former Nets team president Rod Thorn and 11 others in taking the stage for induction ceremonies as the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame's Class of 2018.
Kidd's epic accomplishments were spread across four franchises and 19 seasons, but he left an indelible impression on Nets fans in leading the franchise's greatest NBA era during his six-plus seasons with the team.
"We had a great run," said Kidd of the period that featured four division titles, six playoff appearances and two NBA Finals appearances. "It was a great time to be a Net."
He opened by thanking Gary Payton, a fellow Oakland native who is five years his senior, for introducing some of the grittiness into his game. Payton, a 2013 Hall of Fame inductee, joined Kidd on stage as his presenter.
But other new Hall of Famers had something to say about Kidd. Steve Nash teamed with Kidd in Phoenix during his first two years in the league and remains connected with him as the preeminent point guards of the decade.
"Jason Kidd, only a year older than me, but I looked up to him the whole way," said Nash.
Inductee Grant Hill was selected one spot after Kidd in the 1994 NBA Draft, and the two shared the Rookie of the Year Award a year later.
"When (Detroit GM Billy McKinney) publicly cried after drafting me," joked Hill, "I figured it was because he really wanted Jason Kidd."
Another Nets legend, Julius Erving was on stage twice during the evening as a presenter for Charlie Scott and his former Philadelphia teammate Maurice Cheeks.
Erving was one of the three players Thorn cited as instrumental in his career, along with Michael Jordan, whom he drafted in Chicago, and Kidd, who he brought to the Nets. Thorn was an assistant coach with the 1973-74 Nets team that Erving led to an ABA championship.
"Thank you, Doc, for proving that superheroes can be humans too," said Thorn.
Kidd elevated the Nets in his own way, leading a 26-win turnaround in taking the Nets to the 2002 NBA Finals, and then returning the next year.
"Very few players make others better, and Jason did," said Thorn. "I'm so thrilled to be honored on the same night as him. His contribution to my life and career has been huge."
Thorn, whose 50-plus years in the NBA have included stints as player, coach and GM, also spent 17 seasons with the league office. He drew praise from NBA commissioner Adam Silver in his introductory video.
"He's made an impact on the game that will stand the test of time," said Silver, "by playing every conceivable role over 50 years."
Thorn was joined on stage by presenter Jerry West, who preceded him at West Virginia.
"Who would have thought that two kids from small West Virginia towns would end up here?" wondered Thorn. "Jerry probably did. I certainly didn't."