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Ball Don't Lie

Mark Cuban won’t retire Jason Kidd’s jersey because he went to the Knicks

Eric Freeman
Ball Don't Lie

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Jason Kidd and Mark Cuban, in bro-ier times (Nathaniel S. Butler/ Getty).

Over two separate stints spanning six full seasons and parts of two more, Jason Kidd played point guard very well for the Dallas Mavericks. While those seasons didn't overlap with his prime — those seasons were spent in Phoenix and New Jersey — Kidd did share Rookie of the Year honors with Grant Hill in 1995 and played a key role in the Mavs' championship two seasons ago. Put simply, he meant a lot to the franchise.

Kidd is gone now, of course, after signing a three-year deal with the New York Knicks. The Mavericks had offered a similar contract, so Kidd effectively chose to play for the team in the city where he resides rather than for the one that's treated him pretty well since he was traded in 2008.

This development did not make Mavericks owner Mark Cuban particularly happy. So much that he now claims that the franchise will not retire Kidd's jersey (either the mid-90s No. 5 or more recent No. 2) due to this perceived backstabbing. From Jon Machota for The Dallas Morning News (via TBJ):

"I was more than upset," Cuban told the Ben and Skin show on 103.3 [KESN-FM]. "I thought he was coming (back). I was pissed."

That answer came after Cuban was asked if Kidd would have his jersey in the rafters one day at AAC. Cuban said there was "no chance" of that happening after the way things ended.

"J-Kidd's a big boy, he can do whatever he wants," Cuban said. "But you don't change your mind like that. I'm sure I'll get over it at some point, but as of right now, I wouldn't put J-Kidd's number in the rafters."

Cuban said Kidd called him before agreeing to the deal but Cuban didn't answer because he, "was in D.C. with my kids at a museum."

"I like J-Kidd," Cuban added. "He's a good guy. But I just thought that was wrong. You can't put a guy's number in the rafters when he decides he doesn't want to be there."

Cuban was quick to point out that the also departed Jason Terry could have his jersey retired, because he was totally forthright and honest throughout the entire process. There was clearly some sort of  miscommunication or not totally above board dealing going on here. On the other hand, perhaps Kidd would have clarified some of these issues if Cuban had answered his call.

That's ultimately the issue with Cuban's reaction here: he seems to be assigning impure motives based on incomplete information and personal gripes. And while a jersey retirement typically serves as a reward for valued service to a team both on the court and in a more general sense related to the community and culture, it seems a little reactionary to wipe out many years of capable service just because things ended on bad terms. (Then again, Cuban does mention that he only feels this way now, so everything could change in the future.)

The funny aspect to this feud is that most evidence would suggest Kidd doesn't deserve to have his Mavs' jersey retired on the merits of his play. He was very good with the team, yes, but the years that made him a surefire Hall of Famer all happened elsewhere. It would have been perfectly viable for Cuban simply to give an answer along those lines and move on. Instead, he used it as an opportunity to solidify a grudge. Make of that what you will.

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