Midway through his Hall of Fame speech on Saturday, Jason Kidd dropped this bit about his longtime agent, Jeff Schwartz: “I want everyone to know that Jeff is not just a super-agent, but also an excellent swimmer. If it wasn’t for Jeff saving my life in Cabo years ago, I would not be on the stage tonight.”
Thanks to New York Times scribe Marc Stein, we now know the full story. The way Kidd tells it, he was floating off a boat they rented with friends and family in Cabo San Lucas when he lost track of his foam noodle. That’s when a Portuguese man o’ war got a hold of the future Hall of Famer. Schwartz reacted, wrapping an arm around his client’s neck and swimming him back to safety on the boat.
“I thought I was having a heart attack,” Kidd said. “Every time I tried to move to get away, it electrocuted me.”
“We laugh about it now, but Jeff was really messed up that night,” Kidd said. “He was so quiet. He was like, ‘You could have died.'”
The rescue reportedly happened in the summer of 2004, when Kidd was recovering from the microfracture surgery he had on his left knee on July 1 of that year. He was coming off his fourth First Team All-NBA nod in a five-year span (and the last of his career), and he did not make his return until Dec. 6 of the 2004-05 season. From the sound of it, the New Jersey Nets are lucky he returned at all.
Portuguese man o’ war venom attacks a person’s lymph nodes, causing allergic-like reactions that range from difficulty breathing to cardiac distress and even death, according to the Annals of Emergency Medicine. Fatalities from Portuguese man o’ war stings, however, are extremely rare.
The only question now is whether Schwartz saved Kidd the way Chandler did Monica on “Friends”:
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