Dallas Mavericks’ owner—the habitually outspoken and frequently petulant Mark Cuban—has stomped his feet and made it well known that Jason Kidd’s number will not be retired in Dallas while Cuban’s in charge.
I agree with him—Kidd’s jersey should not hang aside the 2010-11 Championship banner he helped bring to Dallas; nor should it hang aside Brad Davis’s No. 15 or Rolando Blackman’s No. 22—true, original Mavs and the only numbers so enshrined at the American Airlines Center.
But my reasoning is far different to Mark Cuban’s town crying.
The Dallas Morning News’s Jon Machota presented Cuban’s “argument,”
“I was more than upset,” Cuban told the Ben and Skin show on 103.3 [KESN-FM].
“I thought he was coming (back). I was pissed…J-Kidd’s a big boy, he can do whatever he wants…but you don’t change your mind like that. I’m sure I’ll get over it at some point, but as of right now, I wouldn’t put J-Kidd’s number in the rafters.”
The well-spoken owner is “pissed,” and needs to “get over” Jason Kidd’s exodus to the New York Knicks, which, according to Cuban, “was more shocking and surprising than anything else.”
This is the just one in a long string of attention-mongering outbursts. Cuban has been especially cantankerous in 2012.
So far (there’s still a month left or so), he’s very publicly duked it out with Lamar Odom, Donald Trump, Skip Bayless, Stephen A. Smith, a mustachioed Bill Simmons, Brooklyn Nets' owner Mikhail Prokhorov, the Wages of Wins blog commenters, the SEC, and just a few days ago, Facebook.
As for his affront at the hands of Jason Kidd, it seems there was a misunderstanding when contract negotiations went down. Cuban was sure Kidd was coming back to Dallas and felt blindsided when the veteran point guard headed to New York instead.
And Cuban made his displeasure known to the public via this media put-down.
But where did the whole “retire Jason Kidd’s number in Dallas” thing come from in the first place? There’s barely a peep of it anywhere on the Internet.
Only Jason Kidd’s ex-wife, Joumana, has a finger on the pulse of the Mavs fan. She told TMZ “lots of fans would love to see his jersey retired in Dallas.” Is that so?
All of this confirms to me that the “retire Kidd’s jersey issue” came from Mark Cuban in the first place. Was it going to be part of the deal, and when Kidd skipped to New York, all bets were off? Can you see Cuban using that as a bargaining chip?
Sure, why not? It isn’t even insidious. Frankly, it’s in-line with one-day contracts for players who want to retire with “their” team, the team they identify, and are most identified, with. Nothing wrong with that.
Cuban probably broached the topic himself. It might have gone like this, “Come back. Finish your career with us, and you’re a Maverick for life. We’ll retire your number, etc.”
Now he’s throwing it in Kidd’s face.
Maybe if Kidd did go back and finish off his last couple years in Dallas, he might have earned a retired jersey. Some deep playoff runs would help, because as it stands, Jason Kidd really shouldn’t have his number retired for the Mavs.
He played a total of six and a third years for Dallas—in two separate campaigns—but definitely had his best years playing for the Phoenix Suns and New Jersey Nets in between. Kidd won Rookie of the Year his first time in Texas and a title his second.
But what about Jason Terry and Dirk Nowitzki? They won that title in 2011 too, and suffered through that 2006 Finals loss to Miami to boot. Nowitzki has played his entire 14-year NBA career with the Mavericks. They are truer Dallas Mavericks.
I would argue Kidd should have his jersey retired by the Nets long before the Mavericks. His singular impact on that team was much greater. The New Jersey Nets teams Kidd took to the Finals in 2002 and 2003 were his teams, and the only good teams for the franchise post-Dr. J.
Undoubtedly, Jason Kidd should have his number retired by somebody. He is one of the best point guards to ever play the game.
It’s just that it should be by the team he put on the map. That's the Nets, not the Dallas Mavericks.