A veteran of the NBA who began his career almost 20 years ago, Kidd is a 10-time NBA All Star player who finally won the NBA with Dallas Mavericks in 2011 before moving to New York Knicks for the 2012-13 season. He’s also a double Olympic champion with the USA.
Kidd is in London with the Knicks for a regular season NBA match against the Detroit Pistons taking place at the O2 Arena tonight.
He took time out to visit Hotspur Way alongside another NBA legend and Olympic gold medallist, Allan Houston, a two-time NBA All Star who was forced to retire due to a knee injury in 2005. He’s now the Knicks’ Assistant General Manager.
“The facilities are unbelievable and there are some of the best players in the world here,” said Jason. “It makes our facility look like...we need to re-do it! You guys have a beautiful home here. It makes me want to be a soccer player!”
Just like NFL star Joe Staley of the 49ers, who visited us during our pre-season camp in San Jose in 2010 and then watched us train at Spurs Lodge last year, Jason was keen to take in how other sportsmen work on a day-to-day basis – not least the intense nature of our training sessions, short, sharp bursts so familiar to basketball players.
“Watching training has been great,” he said. “It’s a little cold, but this is football at its best.”
Knicks have started well and top the Atlantic Division of NBA’s Eastern Conference – standings are based on winning percentage in the NBA – and have the second-best record behind Miami Heat in the 15 teams that make up the Eastern Conference.
Pistons are currently fourth in the Central Division.
“This game in London is huge for us and the NBA, especially with the Olympics being here in the summer,” said Jason, referencing another gold medal win for the US in last summer’s Olympics, the final against Spain staged at the O2.
“The Knicks are playing really well right now and this is a great time to showcase our sport. All the players really like London, although we’re lucky the game is inside, so we don’t have to deal with the weather!
“The biggest thing is for people here to see a game of basketball played at the very highest level. Hopefully, the fans will be entertained.”
Knicks against Pistons tips off at 7.30pm this evening...