Jason Kidd had one of the longest NBA careers full of achievements and awards, with the best one being an NBA championship he won with Dallas Mavericks back in 2011. During his illustrious career, Kidd accumulated many exciting stories about different players, coaches, and people involved with the game of basketball he met along the way.
One of these stories is featured in a great interview with The Players Tribune when Kidd revisited his memories as a rookie when he faced off against Gary Payton. Payton at that time was probably the best two way player in the league.
Both Kidd and Payton are from Oakland, so they knew each other before Kidd came into the league, and Kidd remembers how he was so pumped up to play against Payton in his first game during his rookie season.
“When I got to the NBA, we first faced off in a game my rookie year in Seattle. We weren’t friends, but he knew me from back in the day. Then I was guarding him in the game. I was jacked with energy. One play, he drove past me to lay it in, and I caught up with him. I blocked his shot out of bounds.
It felt good. I was feelin’ it. I turned to Gary and yelled in his face.
“Get that sh*t out of here.”Jason Kidd, via The Players Tribune
Kidd soon realized talking trash to an ultimate trash talker was not a good idea, and Payton responded with a vengeance.
“I knew it was a mistake right when I said it. It wasn’t my style. Gary scored the next 11 points, moving in silence as he worked on me from the post. Our assistant coach caught my eye from the bench. He was shaking his head like he wanted to say, Don’t you know not to get him going?
After the game, Gary came up to me, with his head cocked to the side. Big smile.
“We good?”Jason Kidd, via The Players Tribune
One thing Kidd learned from playing against Payton is that you can’t let your emotions take over because that is when your game suffers and, subsequently, your team. Kidd also thinks talking trash is not suitable for every player because it can often backfire, which is when you are in trouble.
“I doubt he’d remember that game, but I’ll always appreciate what I took away from it. It took a few years, but I got better at controlling my emotions in games. I never got into trash talk very much after that. It’s a strength for some guys, like Gary, but it wasn’t for me. It’s a real thing, you know — even at the NBA level, basketball is head game first and foremost.”Jason Kidd, via The Players Tribune
Both Kidd and Payton had a tremendous impact on the NBA and the teams they played for despite doing it differently and with a different demeanor. Even though they did it late in their career, they became NBA champions and solidified themselves as HOF point guards.