Ten days ago, Jason Kidd announced he was retiring. Today, the Brooklyn Nets introduced him as its new head coach.
Kidd's career spanned 19 years and four teams — the Mavericks, Nets, Suns, and Knicks. He is second on the all-time assists list, and third all-time in 3-point field goals. He made 10 All-Star games and won a championship with the Dallas Mavericks in 2011. as a member of the Nets, when they were based in New Jersey, he led the team to back-to-back NBA Finals appearances in 2002 and 2003.
The Nets haven’t made it back to an NBA Finals since Kidd got them there. He could be the right man for the job, just like he was a decade ago. Brooklyn is a young and talented team, and the players could use Kidd’s knowledge of the game.
Kidd isn't the first former player to become a head coach. But all-time greats have a dodgy history moving from the court to the bench.
Check out this brief rundown of former NBA stars who took a coaching turn:
Larry Bird — Boston Celtics forward, 1979-1992; Indiana Pacers head coach, 1997-2000
Bird led the Boston Celtics to three championships in the 1980s and is considered one of the best players in NBA history. He retired in 1992 and became head coach of the Indiana Pacers in 1997. He coached the team for three seasons and led them to an NBA Finals appearance in 2000.
Isiah Thomas — Detroit Pistons guard, 1981-1994; Indiana Pacers head coach, 2000-2003; New York Knicks head coach, 2006-2008; Florida International University, 2009-2012
Like Bird, Thomas was a legend. Unlike Bird, Thomas couldn't cut it as a coach. Thomas retired in 1994 and got his first head coaching gig with the Pacers, replacing Bird. Thomas coached the Pacers for three seasons, before Bird, the Pacers President of Basketball Operations, fired him. Thomas became the President of Basketball Operations for the New York Knicks in 2003, then took over as head coach in 2006. But he didn’t last long. Thomas was fired in 2008. His most recent coaching stop was in Florida, where he led FIU for three seasons before being fired in April 2012.
Avery Johnson — Played for six teams as a guard, 1988-2004; Dallas Mavericks head coach, 2005-2008; New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets head coach, 2010-2012
After a long NBA career that included a championship with the San Antonio Spurs in 1999, Johnson retired in 2004. He became an assistant coach with the Dallas Mavericks later that year before becoming the head coach in 2005. He guided the Mavs all the way to the NBA Finals. He got to 150 coaching wins quicker than any other coach in NBA history, which helped him land the job as the coach of the Nets in 2010. He struggled with the Nets as the team moved to Brooklyn and was fired in December 2012.
Mark Jackson — Played for seven teams as a guard, 1987-2004; Golden State Warriors head coach, 2011-present
Like Kidd, Jackson was one of the NBA’s greatest point guards. Also like Kidd, Jackson had no coaching experience when he became the head coach of the Golden State Warriors in 2011. So far, Jackson has done well. The Warriors finished 23-43 in the lockout-shortened 2011 season, but this season made it to the second round of the playoffs, where the Warriors lost to the Spurs.
Kidd has no prior coaching experience. Usually players become assistant coaches before getting a job as a head coach, but Kidd jumped right in after his playing days. Do you think this makes him the right coach for the Nets? How do you think he'll do leading an up-and-coming Brooklyn squad?
Photo: Jason Kidd in 2000. (Peter Read Miller/SI)