During his heyday, Jason Kidd ranked as one of the best point guards in the NBA. Although he started and finished his career with the Dallas Mavericks, he didn’t become a Hall of Famer playing for Mark Cuban. Through a trade, Kidd landed with the Phoenix Suns. And while he turned into a superstar on the court, he endured drama off the court that included an arrest that started over french fries.
Jason Kidd kickstarted his NBA career with the Dallas Mavericks
While most NBA fans associate Jason Kidd with the Nets, he actually began his career with the Mavericks. Dallas selected the 6-foot-4, 205-pound point guard with the second pick of the 1994 NBA draft, one pick before Grant Hill came off the board. The former University of California star wasted no time showing his All-Star potential. Kidd averaged 11.7 points, 7.7 assists and 5.4 rebounds in his first year in Dallas. He earned NBA Rookie of the Year honors and seemed poised to become the best player in franchise history.
In just his second season, Kidd upped those totals to 16.6/9.7/6.8 and earned his first of 10 NBA All-Star selections. However, his brief run as the Mavericks’ best overall player ended abruptly. On the day after Christmas in 1996, the budding star got traded to the Suns in a package deal that brought back Sam Cassell and Michael Finley. The unexpected move turned out to be life-changing for Jason Kidd in more ways than one.
From blowing kisses to spitting french fries at his wife
If you ever watched Jason Kidd shoot a free throw, you’re probably familiar with seeing him blow kisses before every attempt. That loving gesture for his wife became a signature of his NBA career. But after emerging as a perennial All-Star in his new NBA city, Kidd went from blowing kisses to his wife to spitting french fries at her at his real home.
According to CBS News, Joumana Kidd and Jason Kidd got into a heated argument after the Suns star took a french fry from his son’s plate. Joumana reportedly told her husband not to touch the child’s food. That led to the infamous french fry confrontation.
“Jason then turns towards Mrs. Kidd and spits the french fry at Mrs. Kidd, striking her in the face,” the police report said. “Mrs. Kidd turns away from Jason. Jason then strikes Mrs. Kidd in the face while holding a container of yogurt in his hand”
That violent encounter led to Kidd getting arrested on suspicion of domestic abuse. Though he got released to the custody of his attorney, a local attorney named Andrew Miller filed a misdemeanor assault charge against Kidd the day after the incident. According to ESPN, Jason Kidd pled guilty to spousal abuse. He had to pay a $200 fine and take anger management training.
Kidd won his only NBA championship back in Dallas
Phoenix promptly got rid of its No. 1 player just months later. Kidd got shipped all the way to the East coast to the Nets. His personal issues off the court didn’t stop him from becoming an NBA Hall of Famer. Kidd quickly became the face of the franchise. As the facilitator and clear-cut No. 1 option in New Jersey, he developed into a triple-double machine. Showing an improved 3-point shot, the former french-fry spitter averaged 14.6 points, 9.1 assists and 7.2 rebounds in 506 games with the Nets.
New Jersey also experienced incredible success with Kidd in charge. However, Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers swept the Nets in the 2002 NBA Finals. The following year, Tim Duncan spoiled the Nets’ championship dreams with a 4-2 series win.
In a true ironic twist, Kidd returned to Dallas in 2007. And while he no longer put up big numbers, he played a key role in the Mavericks winning the 2011 NBA Finals. In 2018, Jason Kidd headlined a star-studded Hall of Fame class that also included Hill, Steve Nash and Ray Allen. He currently works as an assistant coach for the same Lakers franchise that beat him nearly 20 years ago.
Statistics courtesy of Pro Basketball Reference