EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – After winning a gold medal in Sydney in 2000, Jason Kidd believed his time had passed to play with the next generation of American stars at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
And yet, after watching Team USA in the world championships last August, the New Jersey Nets point guard had a change of heart. He told his agent to call USA Basketball president Jerry Colangelo and tell him that he wanted back in an American uniform.
And for the first time Monday, he made public his desire to play in the FIBA Americas championship tournament in Las Vegas this August and the Olympic Games in 2008.
"I would love to be a part of that team this summer," Kidd said. "If they're asking me, I would love to play in the Olympics and help us get back the gold medal."
USA Basketball is expected to extend an invitation to Kidd and Utah's Carlos Boozer, as reported in the Denver Post on Sunday. The USA roster stands at 23 players, but the roster will be cut down to 12 after a July training camp in Vegas.
Still, Kidd's agent, Jeff Schwartz, said he hadn't talked to Colangelo since passing word to him in September that his client wanted to return to the national team. Asked if it would surprise him if Colangelo wouldn't want Kidd a part of the team, Schwartz said, "Nothing would ever surprise me."
To have Kidd playing a part running its team at the Games has to be an immense relief to coach Mike Krzyzewski. At 33 years old, Kidd is playing the best basketball in years. "As well as he ever has," Nets coach Lawrence Frank said.
Despite an acrimonious departure from Phoenix in 2002, where Colangelo is majority owner, Kidd said it was no obstacle to him.
"All water under the bridge," Kidd said.
Kidd won a gold medal with Team USA in 2000 in Sydney, but wear and tear on his body in recent years, including microfracture knee surgery in 2004, left him unsettled about international play. Now, it looks like he'll be Team USA's oldest player at 35 in 2008 when it tries to take back the gold medal in China.