NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Jason Kidd will have his No. 5 jersey retired by the Brooklyn Nets prior to Thursday night’s preseason game against the Miami Heat.
Wait, tonight? During the preseason?
Why couldn’t they wait to honor arguably the greatest player in franchise history before a game that matters?
Because that’s the way the team’s new coach wanted it, according to Nets and Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark.
“We went to Jason,” Yormark told WFAN co-hosts Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton on Thursday. “And we said, ‘Jason, what would you like to do? This is what we want to do.’ And he chose this game tonight, and I think it reflects him as a player. He was always selfless and it was always team-first. He did not want to take away from the team during the regular season — and this was his desire.”
Kidd led the New Jersey-era Nets to the NBA Finals in two consecutive years (2002-03) and ranks first in franchise history in assists, steals, three-pointers and triple-doubles.
The 40-year-old will be the sixth player in franchise history to have his number retired. The jerseys of Drazen Petrovic (3), Julius Erving (32), John Williamson (23), Bill Melchionni (25) and Buck Williams (52) also hang from the rafters in Brooklyn.
“It’s gonna be a great night here,” Yormark said. “We’ve got an incredible tribute for him. It’s going to be on TNT. So it will feel like a regular-season game, and I think everyone’s really excited about it.”
Kidd retired in June after one year with the New York Knicks and was named coach of the Nets by mid-month.
Yormark said general manager Billy King has been “thrilled” by what he’s seen from Kidd and his players at camp, including newly acquired stars Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.
“He’s just thrilled with the coaching staff, the players, the direction,” Yormark said. “It’s been a totally different attitude.”
Kidd, a 10-time All-Star, won an NBA title with the Dallas Mavericks in 2011.
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