After a Hall of Fame career, the Brooklyn Nets paid homage to one of their all-time greats. He just so happens to coach the team.
The Nets honored new head coach Jason Kidd Thursday night by raising his No. 5 jersey to the rafters prior to their tilt with the Miami Heat. The Nets then took care of business on the floor, waxing the defending champion Heat, 86-62, in a choppy preseason game.
Kidd left his mark on the NBA with the four teams in which he played for. Although he won a title with the Dallas Mavericks in 2011, he will long be remembered for his contributions to the Nets franchise.
"The Nets did a wonderful job tonight with the retirement of the jersey, from coaches to our president," Kidd said. "It's just an honor and it was a special moment, not just for me, but the Nets and also my teammates."
Upon acquiring the star point guard, the Nets transformed from perennial bottom-dweller to instant contender. Under Kidd's reign, the Nets embarked on trips to two NBA Finals, falling to the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs.
"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 owns a laundry list of accomplishments, including but not limited to:
- 10-time NBA All-Star
- 5-time NBA First-team All-Pro
- 5-time NBA Assists leader
- 4-time NBA All-Defensive First-team
- NBA Co-rookie of the Year
Following the ceremony, the Nets center went to work on a point guard's night.
Brook Lopez scored 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting. He played 24 minutes, his highest of the preseason after undergoing offseason foot surgery.
"I don't know if anyone's had their number retired and had to go to work," Kidd said. "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."
Joe Johnson and Andray Blatche (10 points apiece) marked the only other Nets to score in double-figures. LeBron James and Chris Bosh were the only two Miami players to crack 10 points.
James and Bosh both went for 16 points.
The Nets played without Deron Williams, Andrei Kirilenko, Tyshawn Taylor, and Jason Terry. The Heat rested Dwyane Wade, Ray Allen, and Chris Andersen.