Before Riley Curry was a thing, there was T.J. Kidd!
Son of NBA Hall of Famer, Jason Kidd, T.J. sat courtside with his mother, Joumana at Nets home games at Continental Airlines Arena.
Forget Sly Fox, the Nets’ mascot back then, T.J. WAS the Nets’ mascot during the J-Kidd era.
Now all grown up and in college, T.J. lives in the Los Angeles-area and is in college.
In between his busy schedule of flying to Springfield, Massachusetts, the site for tonight’s Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, where he’ll support his dad, T.J. recounts the Nets glory days and he says that after every Nets game, his dad would take him to McDonalds.
T.J. also discusses how J-Kidd blowing kisses at the free throw line got started, why his dad should be rememebered as a Net and how Ben Simmons and J-Kidd’s jump shot struggles don’t really matter!
Here’s the scoop:
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: So, your dad is going into the Hall of Fame, I need to know some funny stories.
T.J. Kidd: Well, let’s see what we got. When he was a Net, win or loss, we would go to McDonalds for dinner, the one right on Route 17.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: What did you order?
T.J. Kidd: It was always a Happy Meal. It was always fun going to games, because I knew we were going to get McDonalds after.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: I like that.
T.J. Kidd: Yeah, it was a lot of fun. OH! And we would always go to the practice facility and play wiffle ball or kick ball or basketball. Like as a family, we always had so much fun. We were always very competitive and I can see where we get it from. There’s always gotta be a winner and there’s always gotta be a loser.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: I like it.
T.J. Kidd: Let’s see, what else. In Dallas, like the day we would leave to come back to Jersey, me and my dad would always go to the practice facilities EARLY, like five in the morning. Like, we’d hang out later in the hot tub and talk about school and basketball, he would ask me basketball questions, like things he wanted opinions on, it was fun! Dallas was a lot of fun.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: What do you remember most about that Nets era?
T.J. Kidd: Oh man, a lot! I remember just how much fun the team seemed to have together. As a kid I always felt electricity when I walked into that building, like I could literally feel electricity every time.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Can you remember the playoffs? What vividly do you remember?
T.J. Kidd: Oh for sure! I remember a lot of OT games, I remember, specifically, those Indiana OT games were brutal. I mean we came out on top, so that’s probably what’s most important.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Gary Payton said that Jason Kidd was the first LeBron when it came to the attention of one player coming out of high school. He also said that at 6’4”, he had an NBA-ready body and made comparisons of J-Kidd to Magic Johnson and Bob Cousy. Do you see more of Magic or LeBron in your dad’s game?
T.J. Kidd: Oh man, that’s a good question. I mean, I’ve seen Magic with the passing, for sure, and with LeBron too. He had a lot of athleticism and a lot of balance. I see a lot of the both of them in him, so I would have to agree on that.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: What stories do you remember you dad telling you about how Gary Payton made him tougher?
T.J. Kidd: My dad got to play a lot of pickup ball in Oakland when he was younger, so he would tell me a lot of those stories where he would go to the park and Gary would be there and how they would play pickup. It was the toughest competition he ever had, and he was young. So, this was when he was in high school and heading into college at Cal, so it made him the tough player that he became and it made him the great player that he was.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: How did he make him tougher?
T.J. Kidd: By not letting him score and I think by him doing that for my dad it made my dad into the competitor that he became. Like he developed that ability to pass because Gary was so tough on him on those playgrounds in Oakland.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: The one thing that many people criticized your dad for during the Nets era and then he kind of got it right in Dallas and then with Knicks was his jumper, they used to call him ‘AsonKidd,’ because he had no ‘J.’ Do you see any similarities in the level of criticism that people have for your dad in his jumper as they do for someone like Ben Simmons?
T.J. Kidd: I do, for sure! The game has changed so much, I think Ben Simmons is great and I think shooting 3’s doesn’t have to be his game and once he gets an outside shot, I think he’ll be okay. I do see the similarities and why people have a problem with the jump shot. But they’re already great players. Adding a weapon like that adds to what they have to bring to the table, which is already so many great things.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: J-Kidd recently said: “I guess I wasn’t smart enough to think about quitting. If you would’ve told me that I would eventually be going to the Hall of Fame while going through those workouts, I would say: ‘You can’t be seeing the right person, this can’t be true.’” Your dad ranks second in NBA history with both assists and steals, and has 8,725 rebounds which is the most by a guard. Do you buy his logic about him saying how he thought of quitting and now going into the Hall of Fame?
T.J. Kidd: Absolutely! I was lucky enough to be around for a lot of his career, so I can attest to that. I mean, the guy, he works so hard every time he got into the weight room and in the gym. It was inspiring to me and probably just by going on my instagram and seeing how I’ve trained, I know I take his mindset with me in anything I do in my own life, because it was just so cool to watch that at the highest level for as long as he was doing it.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Have you watched video of the Three J’s: Jim Jackson, Jamal Mashburn, and Jason Kidd from the Dallas Mavericks era? Who do they remind you of currently?
T.J. Kidd: Oh yeah, for sure! Currently, there’s a few I’d have to say. I’d say a little bit of the Wizards, a little bit of the Warriors, and a little bit of Portland.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: When you’ve envisioned the Hall of Fame Induction in your mind, how have you imagined that it will be?
T.J. Kidd: I would imagine it would be a beautiful event, a celebration of so many legendary careers and I think this year in particular is going to be a stacked class. For me personally, I’m just so glad I’ll be able to be there for my dad. And I think it’s going to be so cool to see all these other All-Time greats being inducted alongside him.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Have you taken any cues from kids of NBA players of what to expect at the Hall of Fame induction?
T.J. Kidd: I have not, I’m looking forward to the experience and I think it’s going to be so much fun. My whole side of my dad’s family is going to be there, and we’re just going to have a good time.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Do you have any other stories for me?
T.J. Kidd: Yeah, in New York, it was his 40th birthday. I think they played the Pacers or something. Some fan threw these glasses to me since I was sitting by the bench. And the glasses had the number 40 on them. I was forgot who I was talking to, but I said: “oh let me put them on, he’s gonna laugh.” But, later we laughed about it, because he was in game mode. But yeah, that was more of one of my favorite stories as far as something that happened between me and him.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: At what point did your dad start blowing kisses at you while shooting free throws. Was that his way to say hello? How did that start?
T.J. Kidd: Yeah, for sure! I think originally it was for him and my mom and then it was him saying ‘hi’ to me and my sister, we always got excited to have that.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: You know your dad is your dad, but everyone sees him as someone important. You were young during the Nets days. When did you finally put two and two together and realize that he was somebody notable?
T.J. Kidd: I would probably say around 6 or 7 years old. I learned pretty young about who he was and the impact he had, just because of how people were towards our family, which was cool. A lot people don’t understand that until they’re older, but it was cool to know he had such positive impact on the community.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Do you miss the New Jersey Nets days? What do you miss the most?
T.J. Kidd: OH! ONE THOUSAND PERCENT! I miss the Izod Center, or the Continental Airlines Arena, or whatever it is now. I would absolutely love to do something in that building one more time. I know a lot of the fans went to Brooklyn, but the New Jersey fans were such nice people and were great to our family, so I’ll always appreciate them. I mean, you just couldn’t beat that atmosphere.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Do you consider your dad a Dallas Maverick, a New Jersey Net, or a Phoenix Sun?
T.J. Kidd: Personally, I would say a Net, for sure! Because for me, that’s what I saw him as the most.