Jason Kidd gives youth chances with girls’ basketball team
MANSFIELD – Jason Kidd’s whirlwind start as Mavericks coach saw him see Luka Doncic in Slovenia and Kristaps Porzingis in Latvia, while putting together a coaching staff and helping his wife Porschla settle their three children in Dallas.
It’s been an eventful two months since Kidd was hired on June 28, to say the least.
Yet for most of Saturday afternoon the Kidd family was there, in every Fieldhouse USA location in Mansfield due to a pretty crazy confluence.
The Jason Kidd Select women’s basketball teams that Kidd founded in January in his California Bay area were playing this weekend at the Prime Showcase Finals in Mansfield, just 30 miles from Jason’s new hometown in NBA.
Sitting at the edge of the court, the eponymous Team Kidd was clearly delighted with the progress made by the fledgling program.
“I’m not surprised, but I’m a little surprised at how successful they were and how much fun they are having,” Kidd said. “The key is to shine a light on it and try to get a scholarship for everyone.”
Kidd Select Development Director Armando Pazos says the light and working habits of girls are already paying off. The program has 90 to 100 players, from college age to 17, and older children have received at least 75 Division I scholarship offers.
“It’s a lot further along than I thought,” Pazos said.
Kidd said he was inspired to start the program, through his non-profit JK Select foundation and the help of donations, by his late friend Kobe Bryant’s passion and commitment to Mamba Sports Academy. before the tragic death of his daughter and daughter Gianna in a helicopter crash in January 2020.
“He wanted to keep women’s basketball in the spotlight,” Pazos said of Kidd. “I think after Kobe passed away, God rest his soul, there really wasn’t anyone doing that.
“So when I got called out and Jason told me what he wanted to do with the girls on and off the court, finally get the alumni back and teach the younger girls, show them that they can be doctors, lawyers, whatever they want to be, I was like, ‘I’m sold. I bet everything.’ “
Guided by his parents Steve and Anne and his coaches throughout the course, Kidd led the way, featuring St. Joseph Notre Dame in Alameda, Calif., Then Cal Berkeley for one season, then for 20 NBA seasons, including the 2011 championship title as Maverick, en route to the Naismith Hall of Fame.
Over the past three years, however, Kidd has quietly tried to set another example, one that Kidd Select players and most Mavericks fans are not yet familiar with.
Kidd, 48, took online courses at the University of Phoenix with the goal of earning an English degree. He’s in his final class, working online even during his frenetic debut as a Mavericks coach.
Kidd estimated on Saturday that he was about a month away from the end of the course, which means he has a chance of graduating by the time the Mavericks’ training camp begins on September 28. Otherwise, soon after, Kidd promises.
Why is he doing it? This is Kidd’s third head coach job, so clearly a college degree was not a prerequisite.
“It’s so we can talk to our young people,” he says. “? Often times, we see athletes making their dreams come true by leaving school early or going pro straight out of high school.
“To be able to say that I graduated, it took a little while. But I also want to be able to say to my own children, “Education is important. As much as your dream is to be a professional, you must also graduate.
With Jason and Porschla on Saturday, there was son Chance, 11; daughter Noé, 9 years old; and her 3-year-old daughter Cooper Anne – the latter wearing a No.77 Doncic t-shirt.
Jason isn’t sure if Noah and Cooper will ever be part of Kidd Select, much like Gianna Bryant does through Mamba Youth Academy.
Kidd is simply focused on the present: coaching the Mavericks, raising his kids, and hoping that Kidd Select’s promising start – despite California’s COVID-19 challenges – is the forerunner of a long future and plenty of scholarship opportunities. studies for girls as they become young women.
When Kidd first started thinking about running Kidd Select, he phoned his 2011 reigning teammate Jason Terry, who in 2005 founded Lady Jets Texas Elite basketball club, which became one of the programs of most important AAU women’s basketball in the country.
Terry, named head coach of the G-League Grand Rapids Gold last week, was of course at Fieldhouse USA on Saturday watching over his Lady Jets.
Terry said that Kidd had strewn questions on him.
“Then I think I know he has a team up and running,” said Terry laughing.
“I just thought he was the best resource for asking questions about it, how to go about it, asking any question, from the idiot seriously,” Kidd said. – Because he did. He was general manager. He was the coach. I just wanted to be able to set it up correctly, ask him about some of the pitfalls he encountered.
So far, so good.
As it turns out, Saturday wasn’t Kidd’s first time inside this particular USA Fieldhouse.
In April, when assistant coach Kidd accompanied the Lakers to Dallas for two games in three days against the Mavericks, the Kidd Select teams were playing at Mansfield.
A car service took Kidd to Mansfield in the pouring rain. Kidd said he could barely see the building when they pulled over. What were the odds that Kidd would be in Dallas that week, and now coach the Mavericks?
“It’s pretty awesome,” Pazos said. “When we were here in April, he sat on our bench and the girls were like, ‘What’s going on? “”
“Then he stayed and took a picture with each child in our program, in the pouring rain. “
Kidd laughing: “It’s much sunnier today. “
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