I've been a Net fan for as long as I can remember.
My dad bought season tickets in the summer of 2001 after they acquired a four-time all star by the name of Jason Kidd.
From that point on, I became not only a fanatic of the Nets, but also just a fan of the game of basketball.
Since Kidd first stepped foot onto the hardwood wearing a Net jersey, to when he steps on the herringbone floor at the Barclays Center, I will have maintained my season tickets, and it is all because of #5.
As a player, Jason Kidd made all the right plays. Whether diving on the floor for loose balls, passing behind his back because that is the most efficient way to find his teammate in the corner for an open three, or guaranteeing that a team that won just 26 games the year prior will make the postseason, Kidd did everything that needed to be done for his team to succeed. A natural leader.
After two trips to the finals, Kidd exited four and a half years later, leaving a legacy as the single greatest New Jersey Net to ever wear their jersey. Kidd turned a franchise around that was consistently last in performance and attendance, to a household name and perianal Finals contender.
So, after the point guard left the team, they reverted back to their abysmal state. I learned to accept the fact that the Nets were a poor ball club without a top-notch point guard, and it may be a long time before they reach the top again.
At times, as it seemed every Net fan did, it looked as if there was no end to the losing, but I continued to persevere seeing a light at the end of the tunnel.
In 2009, that tunnel became as close as ever. After several long years in the basement of the NBA, the league began to hype the franchises' move to Brooklyn and all the money their billionaire Russian owner is willing to put in to make this team a contender. The team made the move to the city, acquired a new superstar point guard, and made the playoffs for the first time since Kidd left East Rutherford.
However, that tunnel was not reached, not yet. The team lacked the spark that the California alumnus brought with him. Deron Williams just isn't what Jason Kidd is, and the likes of Avery Johnson or P.J Carlesimo can not and will not teach him that.
There is only one feasible option for a team that is inconsistent and lacks intensity that once had it. The answer is to bring in the man that made you a contender. If the Nets want to go back to their early 2000 days, they knew, Jason Kidd had to be back with them.
As I said before, Jason Kidd changed the culture of basketball not only of the Nets and their fan base, but basketball as a whole. He played hard until the whistle blew, a lost art in the game today, and shared the ball like his life depended on it.
Kidd retired less than two weeks ago, two. Is he prepared to make the jump from player to coach that quickly? It hasn't been done so it is safe to say no, but will he bring that hustle, do-it-all attitude to the Nets? You bet on it.
Now that the Nets are back in relevance they are pieces away from staying there for good. With Kidd in the fold running this squad, he brings several things to the table. He has played in several different systems during his 19 year career, so he could vary sets for the Nets and keep their opposition on their feet. It has also been reported by the likes of Adrian Wojnarowski that he is intent on bringing in veteran coaches (former Net coach Lawrence Frank to name one), to help him transition into coaching smoothly.
Kidd left $6 million dollars on the table with the Knicks to make a push for this job. Just like on the court, Kidd's intensity goes unmatched, and that is what got him an interview with Billy King, and eventually the job.
The most important underlying piece to all this is the superstar point guard they have now, Deron Williams. It seemed he lost his place amongst the top guards in the league early this season, but after the All Star break he turned it up a notch, proving he still has elite playmaker ability. Now, with one of the best point guards of this generation in command of him, Williams could learn and once again be in the conversation for best point guard in the league, something every championship squad needs.
Is this the biggest gamble the Nets have ever made, if not its pretty damn close, but could this be the coach for the next decade if Kidd is successful? You better believe it.
I will sign off on this: the old Net fan in me is so happy to have JKidd back on the Nets, in any capacity, but the jury is still out on if the more rational fan agrees with this signing. That question will be answered about a year from now.
Until then, just sit back and enjoy the memories.