When you consider his career, do you think of Jason Kidd as a Dallas Maverick? He’s been successful so many places that it’s kind of hard to decide. Not to mention, he’s had two stints in the Big D, one that ended in weird circumstances that may or may not have involved Toni Braxton and a second when he was an old man that helped lead the Mavs to a title. Weird career for a guy who is widely considered one of the 10 best point guards ever.
But there’s one guy who definitely isn’t considering him a Maverick and that’s Mark Cuban, who is VERY upset that Kidd denied the Mavericks the opportunity to pay him to play until he was 42. Cuban is so mad, in fact, that he says he’ll never hang Kidd’s jersey from the rafters. From the Dallas Morning News:
Cuban said Tuesday he thought Kidd was returning to the Mavericks before the veteran point guard surprisingly changed his mind and agreed to sign with the Knicks.
“I was more than upset,” Cuban told the Ben and Skin show on 103.3 [KESN-FM]. “I thought he was coming (back). I was pissed.”
That answer came after Cuban was asked if Kidd would have his jersey in the rafters one day at AAC. Cuban said there was “no chance” of that happening after the way things ended.
“J-Kidd’s a big boy, he can do whatever he wants,” Cuban said. “But you don’t change your mind like that. I’m sure I’ll get over it at some point, but as of right now, I wouldn’t put J-Kidd’s number in the rafters.”
Cuban said Kidd called him before agreeing to the deal but Cuban didn’t answer because he, “was in D.C. with my kids at a museum.”
“I like J-Kidd,” Cuban added. “He’s a good guy. But I just thought that was wrong. You can’t put a guy’s number in the rafters when he decides he doesn’t want to be there.”
Snap. No jersey from the rafters? That’s serious, even though it does save the Mavs the trouble of figuring out whether No. 2 or No. 5 should get the nod. (Personally, I’d vote No. 5 because that’s the number people remember him wearing, probably.) Mark Cuban must be really mad if he’s going to deny Jason Kidd his moment in the sun.
Of course, this is all kind of a moot point considering Jason Kidd played the best and longest uninterrupted streak of his career in New Jersey, put up better stats in Phoenix and has hopped around enough that it’s hard to tell what jersey he’d wear whenever he gets elected to the Hall of Fame. Not retiring Jason Kidd’s jersey because you’re mad at him is pretty easy when you know some other team is going to do it. This is like if the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame refused to allow Paul McCartney in as a solo act because they didn’t like “Monkberry Moon Delight.” No big deal, because I’m pretty sure the Beatles make the cut.
If you’re not hip to the story of the Mavericks’ 27-year-old rookie, Bernard James, then you absolutely must read Jonathan Abrams’ Grantland profile of the military veteran turned professional basketball player. From high school dropout to Iraq and Afghanistan to junior college national champion to Florida State University to the NBA draft, it’s an incredible story and it’s impossible to pick the good parts since the whole thing is the good parts.
That being said, there is one important anecdote that we all need to be aware of heading in to the NBA season. It regards a nickname that might change the power structure of nicknames in the NBA.
One day, Staff Sergeant Rob Grey, a regular running mate of James’s, witnessed the best basketball play he has ever seen. James lost the ball and a scrum ensued. Out of nowhere, he emerged from the crowd with the ball and delivered a two-handed, rim-rattling dunk. “He was literally the equivalent of Shaq in the military,” Grey said. “There was nothing anybody could do.”
Even though he’s only listed at 6-foot-10, 240 pounds, wouldn’t “Shaq of the Military” or “Military Shaq” or something that combines the fact that he’s both a war veteran and a huge, fierce human instantly be one of the best nicknames in the league? It makes your D-Wills and your LMAs and your Flashes look so sissy in comparison. Like who cares about comic books when there is a guy who came from the Air Force and just likes dunking all over the place? It would be awesome. There aren’t many better combinations than paying respect for military service while giving a favorable comparison to an NBA legend.
Sure, there’s a worry that this nickname ends up being a curse, like when Gary Trent was “The Shaq of the MAC,” but it’s still worth it for the time being. If the guy can go from serving three tours overseas to dunking in the NBA, the least we could do is hook him up with a wonderful moniker right when he enters the league. (It is literally the least we could do. There is nothing less than a blog nickname.) And hey, it’s certainly better than “Lomax” or whatever this idiot came up with.
So yeah, “The Shaq of the Military” — I can work with that. Considering the real Shaq comes from a military family, I think he’d be fine with it too. Now go read about Bernard James. You’ll be happy you did.
There’s a lot to like here in Jordan Brand’s new “Rise Above” commercial that features two ballers finding their inspiration by watching this summer’s current Olympics. Of course, Carmelo Anthony is the Team USA player featured at the beginning of the commercial, which makes sense for the brand, as he’s the main NBA hooper on both the Jordan and Olympic rosters. However, basketball-wise, it’s questionable. If Melo were a real team player, he would have passed the honor to fellow Jordan Brand and Team USA teammate, Chris Paul. However, we all know how Melo’s hates to pass.
In any case, we see the two kids, one from the US and the other in China, go from watching the Olympics to playing the game, practicing, and getting better. The kid in China begins his path by crumpling up a piece paper and shooting it in a garbage can. The kid in the US does the same thing except on an iPhone. Kidding, but there is an app for that. No, the kid in the States does it up Nerf-style, and like most of us that did it the same way, he misses because one needs to be a physicist to figure out the right angle, speed, and trajectory to make those weightless balls go in the hoop.
Next, both kids are hooping it up at the playground with the Chinese baller even trash-talking. Cocky little mother. Anyway, they both do well against older and taller opponents. Right there it insinuates that if you want to be better, play against better. Afterward, we switch to dribbling drills because we all know that if you got handle, you can do a lot of things. You know, because you can’t just carry the ball like a football and move down the court.
And then the Jordan staple: dunks. I’m talking about the two hoopsters tomahawking the rock! Yeah, that’s more Dominique Wilkins’ stylo than Jordan’s, but it’s all good. Maybe it’s an homage to ‘Nique and Jordan is admitting he stole the slam dunk title in 1988 from The Human Highlight Film. Probably not.
It’s been four seasons since Elton Brand and Chris Kaman last played a game together, which is why it is going to be great to see the NBA’s greatest duo reunited in Dallas this year. Just like “The Expendables 2: The Squeakquel,” fans around the globe are clamoring for these guys to get back together and bash some skulls. It’s going to be great and everyone except Bill Simmons agrees and is very excited for it.
“I have so many stories about him, but one is he was trying to get me to go hunting. He kind of chastised me because I didn’t want to get on the boat and hunt an alligator. That’s who he is. He’s quirky, but he’s fun loving. He likes to hunt and be in nature. That’s not my style, but he’ll make fun of me. I like my life. I like to live. He hunts everything. He has all types of guns. He likes to have fun.”
What a weird response from Elton Brand, all complimentary but also a tiny bit scared. But the best part, obviously, is imagining Chris Kaman scolding Brand for not wanting to hunt alligators. I’m guessing it’s something like, “You seriously don’t want to go alligator hunting with me? What is wrong with you? I thought you were a tough guy.” And then Kaman went hunting, killed some gators and tweeted pictures of them, probably.
I also like the gentle assertion by Brand that Kaman is definitely going to die on one of his hunting trips — “I like my life. I like to live.” — but also that Kaman is just having a good time (“He likes to have fun.”) Just a funny way to frame it, like, “Oh you know he’s going to get killed doing this, but at least he’s having a good time.” You can tell they’re buds and Elton doesn’t want to hurt his feelings.
Even more than that, however, he doesn’t want to get eaten by an alligator or shot with a gun. That’s a a pretty solid life choice all things considered. Looks like Chris Kaman and Elton Brand are just going to stay work friends. They’ll grab lunch together, maybe some drinks right after they leave their job, but they won’t ever really hang out because Chris is always busy hunting and Elton is always busy trying not to get killed. Different strokes for different folks, I suppose.
In 2006, Jay-Z released a song where he rapped, “30′s the new 20″ despite the fact that he was way closer to 40 than 30. People laughed at him for being out of touch — an old man in a young man’s game, rapping about how being old was really a cool new way of being young. As Jay himself would has said, “We don’t believe you, you need more people.” After all, there aren’t a lot of big-time 40-year-old rappers. Just ask KRS-One and Chuck D.
Similarly, there aren’t a lot of successful 42-year-old basketball players, unless you’re a huge Kevin Willis fan. But that doesn’t matter to the Dallas Mavericks who are thisclose to agreeing to pay Jason Kidd $3 million a year to play basketball for the next three season. From ESPN:
Jason Kidd appears prepared to end his career where he started it — with the Dallas Mavericks.
The 39-year-old is closing in on a multiyear deal, a source close to the situation said. The source said the deal is not completed, but barring any snags, Kidd will close out his career alongside Dirk Nowitzki.
Sources with knowledge of the deal specifics told ESPN.com’s Marc Stein that Kidd’s contract will be a three-year deal worth $9 million, taking him to age 42 if he plays it all the way out.
Yiiiiikes. Unless the Mavericks can find a Kanye figure to rejuvenate Jason Kidd, this is Bad News Bears. A 3-year contract for Jason Kidd? That’s like signing up for a 30-year mortgage when you’re 65 or some other age-based analogy where you are making an ill-advised investment because one of the involved parties is super old. Might as well just bring John Stockton back from the grave.
But who knows. Maybe Jason Kidd will literally find the Fountain of Youth, Ponce de Léon style, and bounce back from the worst season of his career. And then follow that up by keeping the Fountain a secret so he can continue to drink from it for the next two seasons. Barring that, this seems like way too long of a contract for someone so old who is probably best suited as a backup at this point in his career, unless there is some sort of special Social Security dispensation we’re not aware of. If that’s the case, great move.