The Brooklyn Nets have been busy this offseason. Just yesterday they traded for the rights to Allen Crabbe and they shipped Brook Lopez to the Los Angeles Lakers for D’Angelo Russell. While the Nets are rebuilding, thought it would be pretty cool to take a walk down memory lane!
Remember that Big Head Kidd with a mustache running around Continental Airlines Arena in the early 2000s?
I don’t have the smallest cranium in the world, so I’ll leave the head jokes to a minimum.
However, the big headed ‘Kidd’ that I was referring to, happens to own a huge part of the fabric that was the New Jersey Nets during their Eastern Conference Championship years in 2002 and 2003.
Literally just a kid at the time, T.J. Kidd, son of former Nets point guard legend and then former Nets coach, Jason Kidd was an NBA courtside and media darling way before Riley Curry became one via social media. When the Warriors won their first championship in 2015, many gave Riley a hard time for climbing under tables and speaking into the microphone, while her dad, Warriors All-Star Steph Curry was speaking at the podium. Kidd thought it was overblown. “I was thinking she’s just being a kid,” T.J. Kidd told me by phone. “And she’s just getting to spend time with her dad as any kid should be able to do.”
As for T.J., dude was a star! Check out T.J. Kidd on MTV Cribs starting at the 5:16 Mark
“It brought back a lot of fond memories. It was all about getting to spend time with my dad. That was the most important thing, because they are always on the road playing and you don’t get to see them much during the season unless they’re playing at home. I was just lucky enough to be around him when I could, when he was playing. So I think it is important that kids in those situations get to spend time with their parents when they can.”
T.J. Kidd is all grown up now. He’s a sophomore college student in the Los Angeles-area. I caught up with T.J. Kidd and discussed a number of topics including: the nostalgia of looking at old pictures from his childhood, the state of the Nets, the Milwaukee Bucks and what it was like when his dad returned as the head coach of the now-Brooklyn Nets.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: How cool was it to live in that era? What do you remember?
T.J. Kidd: I remember bits and pieces of it. And now I see pictures that my mom will show me or one of my friends will be like: “holy s**t you got to meet Kobe!” And I’m like yeah. It was cool because that era of basketball was something special.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: You and your dad actually had a system where he would say hello to you by blowing kisses to you from the free throw line, correct?
T.J. Kidd: Yes he did.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: You see guys like Jeff Hornacek he would rub his face I think Mark Jackson he would pinpoint at the free throw line. How did the blowing of kisses from the free throw line come about?
T.J. Kidd: I think it just kind of came it was just routine like a lot of guys now and I think one day he just decided that’s what it meant
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: He just did it and you understood it?
T.J. Kidd: Yeah.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Are you interested in a career in basketball after college?
T.J. Kidd: I’ve been looking outside of that, but I love basketball. I was born into it it’s been a part of my life ever since I was born and whatever knowledge I can share and give to people has always been a huge part for me being able to do. That has always been huge
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: You’re being humble because you actually did play at Bergen Catholic High School in Northern New Jersey. What was your game like in high school?
T.J. Kidd: Team ball mostly, just making the extra pass, taking charges and going after loose balls. I wasn’t really much of a scorer.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Were you more of a passer? Were you a defender? Who would you compare your game to?
T.J. Kidd: Kind of like a Brian Scalabrine
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Veal!
T.J. Kidd: Yup Veal!
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: What has your college experience been like? You’re in LA and you’re and east coast guy that must have been a transition.
T.J.Kidd: It was. LA is just a whole different animal to be coming from New Jersey everything is just so fast paced in New York and New Jersey. You just put your head down and do your thing out there, but here is just everything is so laid back and the weather is so nice
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Are you more of an In & Out Burger fan?
T.J. Kidd: I mean, I was raised on McDonalds.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: So that’s a no to in and Out Burger?
T.J. Kidd: It’s not a no. It’s just I’ll go with McDonald’s as my choice In and Out has great burgers though.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Okay we’ll go with that. We talked about your time growing up watching the Nets and being in New Jersey. After winning a NBA Championship with the Dallas Mavericks in 2011, your dad, Jason Kidd actually made a transition back to the New York Metropolitan area playing for the New York Knicks. Did it feel like déjà vu?
T.J. Kidd: It did. It was definitely déjà vu especially seeing him in a Knicks uniform
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Yeah because you either had to watch the Nets on YES or the Knicks on MSG. How cool was that experience for you because you actually got a chance to see Kenyon Martin again.
T.J. Kidd: That was very cool I think that’s actually one of my reasons why I really loved just watching him play with Kenyon again.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: That was pretty dope! Then you got déjà vu a third time. Your dad became head coach of the Brooklyn Nets in 2013. How cool was that?
T.J. Kidd: That was really cool being able to go back with the Nets with him as coach. It was almost like getting a chance to re-live my childhood again.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: That was dope and then getting a chance to see the jersey retirement as well.
T.J. Kidd: That was a fun night. It was surreal to be on the floor watching the jersey go up into the rafters.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: The thing that I think is really cool about your dad is the fact that he went from retiring and then immediately becoming an NBA head coach. Derek Fisher, similarly did the same thing a couple of years back. Is your dad a trendsetter for doing that?
T.J. Kidd: I’ll say that he was a trendsetter in that regard. I mean, I feel like a lot of those guys will be great head coaches. Like, I think with Derek Fisher, the triangle was a tough offense to run and that he was able to do what he did in New York in such a short amount of time I think is great.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Yeah I think Derek Fisher’s transition was harder than your dad’s because he had Paul Pierce, Deron Williams, Kevin Garnett and Joe Johnson. He had all those other Pieces that he basically took over a system that was a threat to the Miami Heat. They Just didn’t make the cut.
T.J. Kidd: A lot of people will say yeah but they still lost but it’s like you run into LeBron eventually in the East.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: What do you like to do for fun?
T.J. Kidd: I’m playing golf, I’m watching basketball, I’m investing a lot of time into watching basketball, and I’m a big pro wrestling fan.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Really who’s your favorite wrestler?
T.J. Kidd: I’m going to have to go with John Cena.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: What do you think of the Milwaukee Bucks going into next season?
T.J. Kidd: I think they got better every single game that they played last year. I think that they still have some things to learn. But I think they will be a great team in the future. They say, ‘Own the Future,’a lot. But I think but I think they’re getting closer to the future. The future is now. But I think Giannis is going to definitely be an All-Star again. He should win the NBA’s Most Improved Player of the Year, this year.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: I’m fascinated by the whole Nets era. You said you remember bits a pieces. What specifically do you remember?
T.J. Kidd: I kind of remember having my own locker.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Are you serious?!
T.J. Kidd: Yeah they gave me a little one. It was an empty one. So they just put stuff that I had in there, but as I got older I didn’t really mess around with it but it was fun when I was younger.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: It had your name on it and everything?
T.J. Kidd: It was like a piece of tape I think.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Wow that’s pretty funny, you were like the honorary sixth man
T.J. Kidd: Kind of like, I remember I was always around before they would run out of the tunnel. Then I would go sit down and cuddle with my mom before my mom and dad split up.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: That Nets team to me really missed Kenyon Martin when he went to Denver that ushered in the Vince Carter era you were a little older at that point what do you remember about that era.
T.J. Kidd: It was exciting it was an exciting thing to watch because I knew my dad was going to find Vince around the rim.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Yeah him and Richard Jefferson. What was it like to see RJ play in the NBA Finals with the Cleveland Cavaliers? People call him old now!
T.J. Kidd: Yeah it’s funny like to see Vince and RJ be old now. RJ deserved to win last year he was one of the guys that deserved a ring.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: You got a chance to see your dad actually win a championship in 2011. I remember when people used to tease him and call him ‘ason Kidd’ because they took the J out of his name because he had no jumper. But in all seriousness when he played in that Dallas Mavericks / Miami Heat Finals in 2011, my man J-Kidd was hitting key jumpers. How cool was that to see him win a ring towards the end of his career with Dallas?
T.J. Kidd: It was cool. I think I was in eighth grade at the time. And I remember telling one of my friends at the beginning of the year, Dallas is gonna win a title this year. And they were like, ‘no stop!’ It was right when LeBron went to Miami and they formed the big three. So just watching the playoffs and looking at when they were down 0-2 to Portland in the first round and something just happened and they started balling. They swept the Lakers in the second round and Phil Jackson retired. And then they beat OKC 4-2 and got Miami 4-2.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Did you go to that series between Dallas and Miami?
T.J. Kidd: I was never able to make it because I had school and school comes first
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: That series stood out because everybody was jumping on the Miami bandwagon. it was their first year but when you really go back and look at the tale of the tape, I think the thing that stood out was the play of Tyson Chandler
T.J. Kidd: Yeah Tyson was huge
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: What do you think the current Nets team needs to do to put a winning product on the floor/
T.J. Kidd: I think they’re headed in the right direction. They have a good coach in Kenny Atkinson and I think that they’ll eventually stop suffering from the repercussions of that Boston trade.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: That Boston trade you said a mouthful. The Boston Celtics had the first pick in the draft and they went to the Eastern Conference Finals and had a good off season in the acquisition of Gordon Hayward. When you look back at the Boston trade to get Paul Pierce, Jason Terry and Kevin Garnett, do you think the Nets made the right decision?
T.J. Kidd: I think it was a good decision at the time absolutely but you should always take into consideration that you’re going to have to field the farm, just to be able to build and win now.