Jason Kidd Retires: Breaking Down Legendary Point Guard's Hall of Fame Resume

Dan Favale@@danfavaleFeatured ColumnistJune 3, 2013

The NBA is now down one more future Hall of Famer in Jason Kidd.

After 19 years, the 40-year-old point guard has decided to retire from the NBA, the New York Knicks announced.

“My time in professional basketball has been an incredible journey, but one that must come to an end after 19 years,” Kidd said in a statement released by the Knicks. “As I reflect on my time with the four teams I represented in the NBA, I look back fondly at every season and thank each every one of my teammates and coaches that joined me on the court.”

Kidd's retirement comes just days after Grant Hill announced he would be retiring as well. The two entered the league together in 1994 and shared the 1995 Rookie of the Year award.

Now that Kidd's career is officially over, it's time to recognize him for what he is—a Hall of Famer.

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Debates will be had, and there will be those who believe he hasn't done enough to warrant an induction in The Hall as soon as 2019, but the latter will be in the minority.

Kidd has done enough to reach the Hall of Fame. He's done more than enough, something it takes but a glance as his achievements to realize.

Jason Kidd's Career

Kidd has had quite the 19-year run.

The point man leaves the NBA with averages of 12.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, 8.7 assists and 1.9 steals per game and one championship ring to his name.

Throughout the course of his career, he played with four teams. He was drafted by the Dallas Mavericks in 1994 before spending time with the Phoenix Suns and the then New Jersey Nets. After returning to Dallas—where he won his only title—Kidd signed with the Knicks last summer.

In his 19 years of service, Kidd was named to nine All-Defensive teams, four of which were first-team selections. He was also named to six All-NBA teams, five of which were first-team honors.

Kidd never won an MVP award, but he finished in the top 10 of voting five times and in the top five twice. He finished second behind Tim Duncan of the San Antonio Spurs to close out the 2001-02 campaign.

His numbers never seemed to leave the impression you'd expect from a Hall of Fame candidate, though. He never averaged 20 or more points per game for an entire season and posted 15 or more just five times. Kidd also put up 10 or more assists a night just three times. 

Taking his career averages at face value epitomizes narrow-mindedness. Kidd was consistent, and in more ways than one he was great.

Putting the Numbers in Perspective

Kidd retires as the only player in NBA history to total at least 17,500 points, 8,500 rebounds, 12,000 assists and 2,500 steals for his career.

His 12,091 assists are the second-most in league history behind John Stockton's 15,806, and his 8,725 rebounds also rank first among all players standing under 6'5".

More notably, he dished out more assists during his career than current Hall of Famers Magic Johnson (10,141) and Oscar Robertson (9,887). He also grabbed more rebounds than Hall of Fame-caliber big man Alonzo Mourning and forced more steals than Michael Jordan (2,514) and Gary Payton (2,445). Oh, and he drilled more threes (1,988) than anyone in NBA history not named Ray Allen (2,857) or Reggie Miller (2,560) as well.

Such is the luxury of playing 19 years though, right?

Yes and no.

Kidd's career totals aren't the product of his career's longevity. He sustained an unprecedented pace for nearly two decades.

Only one player has ever retired while averaging at least 12 points, six rebounds, eight assists and 1.5 steals per game. His name? Jason Kidd.

Just one player has knocked down at least 100 threes in a single season more than once after his 35th birthday. That player is Jason Kidd.

A mere 27 players have ever accumulated 138 or more win shares. Jason Kidd is one of them. Of those remaining 26, seven are still active—LeBron James, Dirk Nowitzki, Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen—and of those other 19 players, 18 are already in the Hall of Fame. The lone player that isn't is Shaquille O'Neal and that's only because he isn't eligible to be inducted until 2017.

Toss in Kidd's 107 career triple-doubles, and we all get the point.

The point being that Kidd is a first-ballot Hall of Fame lock.

Saying Goodbye

There is no easy way to bid adieu to Kidd.

Nineteen years into his professional tenure, and, somehow, he was still undervalued. And I don't say that out of spite. Rather, it attests to Kidd's all-business attitude.

For almost 20 years, the point guard did his thing. Regardless of what was going on off the court, what team he played for and how many minutes he logged, he was able to make an impact wherever he went.

“Jason’s value to the Knicks and the National Basketball Association cannot be quantified by statistics alone,” Knicks general manager Glen Grunwald said. “Everyone here in New York saw firsthand what a tremendous competitor he is and why Jason is considered to be one of the best point guards, and leaders, the game has ever seen.”

One year, in limited capacity. That's all it took for the Knicks to understand what Kidd meant to his three previous teams and what he meant to the game of basketball. And even that doesn't do his career justice.

Kidd never, ever cared about statistics. He valued making his teammates better, serving as a leader in all aspects of the game. If the box score reflected his efforts, then that was an added bonus.

More than most people realize, perhaps even Kidd himself, his impact could be seen in the numbers. Not all the time, but most of it. His career totals are proof. His ability to statistically contend with all-time greats like Magic, Stockton and Robertson, among others, is proof.

Everything he ever did or stood for on the court is proof, evidence that the NBA has now lost one of the greatest warriors it ever housed.

So farewell, Jason. You will be missed—more than anyone could describe or you'll truly ever know.

*All stats in this article were compiled from Basketball-Reference and NBA.com unless otherwise attributed.


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