Jason Kidd, the Brooklyn Nets’ newest coach and one of the greatest players in the team’s NBA history, had his No. 5 raised to the rafters of Barclays Center before the team’s preseason game with the two-time defending champion Miami Heat on Oct. 17. The Nets defeated the Heat 86-62.
Kidd was honored and grateful but also wanted the 10-minute ceremony to go as quickly as possible.
"I don't know if anyone's had their number retired and had to go to work," Kidd said before the game. "I'm a rookie coach. So this game, [the ceremony] being [in the] preseason is something I wanted. I wanted to get this over with as quickly as possible and then get back to my team.
Kidd is the sixth Net to have his number retired, joining Drazen Petrovic, John Williamson, Bill Melchionni, Julius Erving and Buck Williams,
Former Nets general manager and current NBA president of basketball operations Rod Thorn, former teammate Kerry Kittles former Nets great Buck Williams, and former assistant coach and current Rutgers coach Eddie Jordan were present for the ceremony.
The team showed a video tribute with highlights of several of Kidd's warp-speed fast breaks and alley-oops to teammates.
Kidd, who came to the Nets in a 2001 trade with Phoenix that involved Stephon Marbury, orchestrated an incredible turnaround as the Nets went from winning 26 games the season before to 52 victories in his first season (2001-02). He led the Nets to two consecutive NBA Finals appearances. Under Kidd's watch, the Nets won their first two Eastern Conference championships and four Atlantic Division titles.
"No one thought we could win," Kidd said. "We did. We had a good team; we just came short of that big trophy. But we got there twice."
Kidd finished second to Tim Duncan in MVP voting during the 2001-02 season.
In his 6½ seasons in New Jersey, Kidd averaged 14.6 points, 9.1 assists and 7.2 rebounds per game. As a Net, he was a five-time All-Star, and was All-NBA three times and All-Defensive team six times. He owns the franchise records for assists (4,620), steals (950), 3-point field goals made (813) and triple-doubles (61).