2018 Hall of Fame: Steve Nash and Jason Kidd

Congrats to Steve Nash and Jason Kidd on being inducted in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame!

DALLAS — When Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle heard that Jason Kidd was going to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this summer, he already knew this prestigious award was going to be a foregone conclusion for the big-time playmaker.

After all, Kidd was one of the greatest players in NBA history. And his greatness was on full display in 2011 when he led the Mavs – coached by Carlisle – to the franchise’s only NBA title.

“This is certainly no shock,” Carlisle said of Kidd’s Hall of Fame honors. “It’s very much expected.

“When we won it in 2011 he just did a little bit of everything. Everything from guarding all the great players at some point during that series — at least on the perimeter — to scoring when he had to, to leading. He’s just an amazing player.”

Carlisle said he thought Kidd would become an NBA owner after his playing days. Meanwhile, Guard J. J. Barea, who was on the Mavs’ championship team with Kidd, wasn’t surprised that Kidd turned out to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

“He was amazing as a leader shooting the ball, playing defense, passing the ball,” Barea said. “I learned a lot from him and we all knew he was going to be in the Hall of Fame.

“He gave me confidence. He gave me the ball and he’s like, ‘Go shoot it,’ so it was awesome.”

The Mavs chose Kidd No. 2 overall in the 1994 NBA Draft, but traded him to the Phoenix Suns on Dec. 27, 1996. However, the Mavs got Kidd back in a trade with the New Jersey Nets on Feb. 13, 2008 and kept him until he left and signed a free agent contract with the New York Knicks on July 12, 2012.

As Kidd becomes the first player the Mavs drafted to ever be inducted into the Hall of Fame, forward Harrison Barnes spoke highly of Kidd prior to Friday’s game against Minnesota. Kidd grew up in the Bay Area and Barnes played his first four NBA seasons with the Golden State Warriors.

“Playing in the Bay Area, obviously you hear a lot of legendary stuff about him,” Barnes said. “And then just being a basketball fan, you’ve seen him over the course of his career.

“I think it’s a testament to one of the best floor generals in the game. A guy that just played hard and had that toughness about him at that guard position, so obviously this is well-earned and well deserved.”

Barnes said he always joked with Mavs forward Dirk Nowitzki – he was Kidd’s teammate on the Mavs’ championship season – about not getting enough rebounds when playing alongside Kidd.

“He said, ‘J-Kidd was stealing all of mine,’ Barnes said. “I said, ‘Man, you’re 7-feet tall, you had no excuses.’ He said, ‘He was getting the rebounds, he was pushing it up the floor, he was shooting the ball, and I was lucky I got it on the floor.’ ”

Kidd, who later coached the Nets and the Milwaukee Bucks, was widely considered as one of the prototypical point guard. He was a coach on the floor and a walking triple-double.

“Last year I remember coach brought in a picture of J-Kidd guarding LeBron (James) in the (2011) Finals when he was here, and he’s like this dude is 39,” Barnes said. “(He was) guarding LeBron full court in the NBA Finals.

“I think that’s just another testament to how tough he was as a player and his mental toughness.”

Former Mavs point guard Steve Nash also was a mental tough player who was difficult to handle. A two-time NBA Most Valuable Player and eight-time All-Star, Nash will join Kidd as a Hall of Fame inductee this summer.

Nash played for the Mavs from 1998-2004, but did his most damage with the Suns, where he was the league’s MVP in 2005 and ’06.

“Even though I didn’t work with Nash here, he’s so well-known and so beloved, and was such a great player here that I feel like he was around,” Carlisle said. “And he certainly was a big problem to deal with when we competed against him.

“His career had similarities to Jason’s in that when Steve was drafted it took a while for him to even consistently play. And once he got with (coach) Mike (D’Antoni) in Phoenix he won two MVP’s in a row, and that’s just an amazing accomplishment.”

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