Like most NBA players, Dallas Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd has his own Michael Jordan story. What makes Kidd’s story interesting is that the guard could relive his first game with the GOAT without ill feelings.
“I like you”
Kidd was the second overall pick in the 1994 NBA Draft. This was the year Jordan was away from the game, and so their first duel came in the 1995-96 NBA season. Though Jordan had just come back from retirement, there was no doubt in Kidd’s eyes that he still was the undisputed GOAT.
“I think my first time guarding him in Dallas, I was just a little nervous. I think he could see that so he came up to me and said, ‘Look don’t worry about it kid, I like you. So I won’t embarrass you tonight.’ So I said, ‘Oh ok. Great,’” Kidd said, via his YouTube channel.
Kidd wanted to clarify what Jordan meant. What did he mean he was going easy on him? Did it mean he’ll drop 50 points? Jordan reiterated that he’ll go light on him. But Kidd was still worried about what Michael had in store.
“I was guarding him on the right box, and he did a spin move to the baseline. I said, ‘Oh no, just don’t dunk it. And then he jumped and kept going, and he went to the other side of the basket and did a little reverse layup. And I said, “Oh God. I’m glad he didn’t dunk it.’ And he looked back at me and winked at me and said, ‘I told you I wasn’t going to embarrass you.’ He had 35, so that was just a light embarrassment. But I wasn’t the whole 35 maybe I had like 20,” Kidd said.
Holding his own
Stats back up Kidd’s claim. Jordan led the Chicago Bulls to a 108-102 overtime win over the Mavericks. His Airness had 36 points on 12-of-25 shooting from the field and 12-of-13 from the free-throw line.
Kidd’s story made it seem Jordan and the Bulls lampooned him. The reality is the iconic guard had 25 points, 15 rebounds, 11 assists, and 6 steals. It’s important to note that Kidd was just in his second year in the NBA.
Kidd is known as one of those guards with a photographic memory. But his memory of that game may have been a bit shabby. He didn’t really match up against Jordan for the majority of the game. Since he was a guard, Kidd matched up against the likes of Randy Brown, Ron Harper, and Steve Kerr. And so Kidd was probably exaggerating when he said Jordan dropped 20 on him.
Whatever the case may be, Kidd’s story should be added to all the great Jordan stories in history. Also, we should remember it as the time a young Kidd held his own against the GOAT.