Brooklyn, NY – Jason Kidd was officially introduced as head coach of the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday and the common theme was toughness and unselfish play -- something the 10-time All-Star was known for as a player.
It's sort of a homecoming for Kidd, who captained the Nets to consecutive NBA Finals appearances in 2002 and 2003. He played in 506 games over 6 1/2 seasons with the team, which was then based in New Jersey.
"We didn't start out looking for Jason," said Nets general manager Billy King about the hiring process. "He was always someone who worked hard and that will translate to coaching. We got somebody who will work his butt off to make sure we go in the right direction."
The 40-year-old Kidd knows he has a lot to learn, but is confident his experience will translate.
"I'm a rookie," he said. "I go from being one of the oldest players in the league to a rookie coach. I am excited about this challenge.
"I have a lot to learn about coaching, but when I played the game I was an extension of the coach," said Kidd, who ended his career as the second-leading player all-time in assists and steals.
"I took notes," said Kidd about his playing days. "I would tell any player, grab a book and take notes. So, I have a lot of notes to look at and I'll prepare myself with a strong staff around me."
Kidd, though, noted that he hasn't hired any staff yet, but did make a push during the press conference to have former Nets coach Lawrence Frank join him on the bench.
"I'll consider this my pitch to him," Kidd said with a smile.
The Nets lost to the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference quarterfinals and then announced interim head coach P.J. Carlesimo would not return next season. Carlesimo replaced Avery Johnson on Dec. 27, 2012 and led the Nets to a 35-19 record over the final 54 games of the regular season.
Kidd, who just completed his 19th season as a player in the NBA, takes over a team that went 49-33 overall during the regular season.
During his playing time with the Nets, Kidd led the team to six consecutive playoff appearances from 2002-07, including two Eastern Conference championships and four Atlantic Division titles. He holds Nets all-time records for assists, steals, three-point field goals made and triple-doubles, while his 7,373 points and 506 games played are fourth and fifth, respectively, in franchise history.
Kidd spent the 2012-13 season with the New York Knicks and retired after his team lost in the Eastern Conference semifinals to Indiana. He also played for Dallas and Phoenix during his brilliant career, and finally won an NBA title in his second go-round with Dallas in 2011.