Jason Kidd and Lawrence Frank at the Orlando Summer League earlier this month (Getty Images)
When the Brooklyn Nets hired Jason Kidd as their head coach just days after his retirement from the NBA as an active player, they were aware that handing their figurative keys to a rookie coach was a risky move. Even with Kidd’s considerable basketball smarts in hand, on-court savvy doesn’t always translate to success from the sideline.
One of the more under-reported aspects of the hire was Kidd’s lingering DWI charge, one that’s been hanging over his head since he crashed his SUV into a tree during the wee hours in Long Island some 12 months ago. On Tuesday, Kidd will be in court to make an interim plea in his case, which will lead to an October sentencing and more than likely an NBA suspension of several games to start the 2013-14 season. The Brooklyn Nets’ shiny new hire probably won’t even be allowed in the building for the first few games of the team’s hoped-for championship run.
“He will say that the drinks he had that night rendered him intoxicated,” his attorney, Edward Burke Jr., was saying on Monday morning. “What Jason is going to do is stand up and own this.”
About time. Burke, who comes out of Sag Harbor, L.I., and has handled a lot of high-profile cases in his time on the South Fork of eastern Long Island, explained that as part of the plea arrangement with the office of the Suffolk County District Attorney, Kidd has agreed to make school appearances on Long Island in the fall, which will be taped and can be used later as public-service announcements if the DA’s office chooses to use them that way.
What Kidd’s lawyers did not get into, expectedly, is how incredibly lucky Jason Kidd is.
Various reports had Kidd at the very least unable to walk properly upon leaving a nightclub early in the morning on July 15, 2012, with TMZ reporting that Kidd had to be carried out of the club. Kidd, who earlier that night appeared with Nets guard Joe Johnson at a charity event, “only” crashed into a tree, and walked away from the collision. He could have killed himself and anyone else that happened to share the road with him that night.
All for the luxury of getting to have his own Cadillac Escalade parked at his own house for the night, or to not have to worry about a sober driver’s abilities to get home after taking Kidd’s keys.
As a result, Kidd’s fall will not only be burdened by the expectations that come with coaching a roster that will cost the Nets over $180 million once luxury taxes are factored in, but he’ll have to appear in court in October to explain away worrying that bottle, while fulfilling his public-service duties out in Long Island. Adding to that is the embarrassment of likely watching from home as Lawrence Frank begins the 2013-14 season as interim Brooklyn Nets head coach. And Kidd could still receive a stiffer penalty, according to the Daily News, if the court determines that is work with children isn’t good enough.
It’s the absolute smallest price to pay for any of this, right in line with only harming a truck and a tree after driving while significantly intoxicated. Jason Kidd is a lucky, lucky man; and we hope he relays that message to those whose lives he will be influencing as a result of his sentence.
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