A year ago, Jason Kidd unsuccessfully tried a coup to become the Nets General Manager. The bottom line of such a bold political act would have been a move up, from coach to the one making the decisions. That the move failed in such a disastrous house on fire debacle was only superseded by the knife in Kidd’s back, thrust there by the Nets who leaked Kidd’s naked ambitions to the media, embarrassing Kidd even further in a sordid soap opera that surpassed ridiculous even by Jason Kidd’s standards. But even that social media failure didn’t put a dent in Kidd’s ego. He exhaled then went east to his friends in Milwaukee.
Kidd was unbothered by the fact that the Bucks already had a coach in Larry Drew. Kidd famously retorted, “it’s business”. Sending Drew out the door and into the unemployment line was one more Jason Kidd Machiavellian narrative he has attached to his name by his own behavior. The question, does Jason Kidd have any shame was easily answered: no. No. Hell, no.
The Jason Kidd bad guy stories resurfaced right about then. Let’s reminisce. He got his college coach, Lou Campanelli fired. He was part of a Toni Braxton love mess with teammate Jim Jackson that derailed the young Mavs stars from doing anything special in Dallas while they brooded and acted like eighth graders. He pled guilty to domestic abuse for an assault upon his then wife Joumanna and in the divorce documents he is portrayed as a serial abuser. He forced Byron Scott out. He was arrested for driving while intoxicated. He spilled soda on the court to force an official timeout (he was out of his) in a game with the Lakers that his team ultimately lost. He demoted Lawrence Frank, his assistant, after paying him a league high $1 million to assist him as a rookie coach. So, the failed coup was one more embarrassing chapter that dented his character even further.
The failed coup only reintroduced the familiar Kidd bio as an out of control, entitled, ambitious former athlete who will go to any lengths to get what he wanted. This summed it up in USA Today Sports Media Group (The Big Lead).
“Jason Kidd is a power hungry egomaniac, and this experiment is destined to end poorly in Milwaukee. I feel bad for Jabari Parker, whose intial plunge into the NBA will be with this clown as coach. I feel even worse for Milwaukee coach Larry Drew who never knew this was coming. Watch your back, GM John Hammond.” (Jason McIntrye).
The clown reference is a mild pejorative compared to all of the things Jason Kidd has been called in the past. But the rest of the summary has failed to live up to its prediction. Kidd’s critics who see him as this wild and ruthless bridge burner, damn who gets hurt, may be true in their assessment of him but he has trumped them in this one very specific detail: he succeeded when almost everyone except Santa Claus assumed he would fail. In Milwaukee, Kidd didn’t suck. The Bucks thrived. Kidd’s reputation was restored in the way it always is resurrected in sports. Winning changes everything.
Regardless of the nepotism that brought Kidd to the Bucks because of his friendship with Marc Lasry and Wes Edens, he has restored community goodwill all too willing to look the other way, as is the case with every single fan base asked to measure scandal versus wins. With the offseason acquisition of Greg Monroe, the Bucks intention is to develop their young talent so they are a continued playoff threat and can realistically compete in their division with the lucrative big boy Chicago Bulls and the LeBron James Cavs. That ownership has blindsided the taxpayers into giving a bunch of billionaires welfare to green light another arena said billionaires won’t have to pay for is further proof of how things stand in Milwaukee and how Kidd has changed the culture.
But he is who he is and in that regard the end does justify the means. Machiavelli’s famous phrase, often repeated, often imitated, always the antidote to goodness is part of Jason Kidd’s biography. Nevertheless, Jason Kidd is having the last laugh, the last word as his new team, the Milwaukee Bucks, have a brighter future than his last team, the New Jersey Nets. So Kidd won. Kidd won.
He usually does.
photo via somosnba