Jason Kidd: "I would like to play until I'm 40"
You’re now in your 14th NBA season. Are you having as much fun as you did when you broke into the league?
Jason Kidd: Yeah, I am. I have great group of coaches and teammates. I’m having a blast.
What’s been the biggest difference since you came into the NBA in 1994?
JK: The game has grown globally. It’s world wide. The fan base is so much bigger. It’s exciting. It shows David Stern has done a great job with the game.
You’ll turn 36 on March 23, yet, from a physical standpoint, it seems like you haven’t lost a step. Right or wrong?
JK: I feel sore sometimes in the morning, but that happens at any age. I feel I can still compete. I feel good mentally and physically, I still feel I can play at a high level.
You’ll go down as one of the greatest passers the game has ever seen. Of the countless great passes you’ve made, does one stick out?
JK: Maybe the bowling ball pass to Lucious Harris in 2003, when I threw it the length of the court and I put some spin on it so the ball would go to him. That is probably one of the passes I’ll always remember.
During your stellar career, who was the best passer you’ve seen?
JK: (John) Stockton. What made him so good was that he got the ball to the right guy at the right time without making his teammate do anything extra. All his teammate had to do was just catch and shoot. That’s why I consider him the best passer.
The NBA has a bunch of terrific young point guards. What’s your take on them?
If you were to play a two-on-two game, who would like to have as your partner?
JK: Good question. (long pause) Maybe it would be Michael Jordan or Wilt Chamberlain.
Was there one player during the course of your career that you wished was on your team?
JK: I liked the guys on the Olympic teams, the 2000 one and the 2008 one. There were some very talented players on those teams and I enjoyed playing with all of them. (laughs) Actually, I’d want anyone who wants to put the ball in the basket
You have a new coach this season in Rick Carlisle. How’s he been to play for and has he treated you any differently than your other coaches?
JK: He’s been a player in this league and he understands what it takes to win. He’s coached some great teams under some difficult circumstances. And he always has his teams prepared. It’s been great playing for him.
The Mavericks seem to be getting their act together and are in the playoff hunt. Does this team need to make a trade, though, to go deep into the playoffs?
JK: I think I’ll leave that up to (Mark) Cuban and Donnie (Nelson) and coach Carlisle. They make the personnel decisions. We do feel confident with the guys we have. We feel we have a good chance to do that.
You’re in the final year of your contract. Do you expect to re-sign with the Mavs?
JK: I haven’t given it any thought. I’m just playing it out. I’m trying to enjoy my teammates. This is a great team to be on. We’re just having fun. The contract situation will take care of itself.
Do you expect to sign a one-year deal – or are you looking to play several more seasons?
JK: I would like to play maybe until I’m 40. I feel great, but we’ll see how that goes. But I would stop at 40. No smalls, no little guys have played until 40, so that would be a great accomplishment.
Are there any more mountains for you to scale in your career?
JK: I would like to end up No. 2 (all-time) in assists and I’d like to move up in the three-point category of makes, so people will say I can shoot.
Have you seriously considered what you want to do after you retire?
JK: Hopefully, I’ll give back to the game. The game has given so much to me. Maybe I can be a mentor and be with a franchise where I can help a point guard or some younger players develop. Or maybe I can be a part of management or ownership. That would be exciting, too.
Could you see yourself coaching?
JK: No. No, I can’t. It would be too hard. Way too hard.
Gery Woelfel covers the Milwaukee Bucks and the NBA for The Racine (Wis.) Journal Times
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