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Cal Basketball: Jason Kidd Claims Surprise on Joining NBA's 75th Anniversary Team

The Hall of Fame point guard loses his coaching debut with the Dallas Mavericks.

Jason Kidd reacted as if he had no place on the NBA’s 75th anniversary team.

Frankly, this was a no-brainer.

But Kidd, who played two seasons at Cal in the early 1990s before embarking on a 19-year NBA career, flashed a bit modesty when given the news he has been included among the game’s 75 greatest players.

“Wow. Well, one, I’m surprised,” he said. “Two, it’s a surreal moment, right?

“Seventy-five years and to be mentioned with that list. There’s a lot of great names so I’m just happy they found a way to put my name on that list.”

Jason Kidd at Mavericks media day

Jason Kidd having fun at Mavericks media day

The news wasn’t as good on the court Thursday night as Kidd’s debut as coach of the Dallas Mavericks wound up a 113-87 loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

The NBA selected its 50 greatest players 25 years ago, and expanded the club as the league reached 75 years. Because of a tie in voting, the list actually includes 76 players.

Active players named to the team include Stephen Curry, LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kevin Durant.

Kidd’s credentials as a player leave little doubt that he belongs on a list that now includes four Oakland natives, as Kidd, Gary Payton and Damien Lillard joined the original 50-man team that featured Bill Russell.

NBA's 75th anniversary team

An consensus All-American point guard as a sophomore at Cal in 1994, Kidd was co-Rookie of the Year in the NBA in 1995 and went on to become a 10-time all-star, a five-time first-team All-NBA pick and a nine-time first- or second-team all-defensive selection.

He finished in the top-10 in MVP voting five times, won an NBA championship with the Mavericks in 2011, collected two Olympic gold medals during an undefeated international career and earned enshrinement in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

His place in the NBA record book is exhaustive:

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— No. 2 all-time in assists (12,091 - more than Magic Johnson)

— No. 2 all-time in steals (2,684 - more than Michael Jordan)

— No. 4 all-time in triple-doubles (107 - more than Wilt Chamberlain)

— No. 5 all-time in minutes played (50,111 - equivalent to 35 days)

— No. 8 all-time in assists per game (8.69)

— No. 11 all-time in 3-point baskets (1,988)

— No. 12 all-time in games played (1,391)

He turned the ball over 4,003 times to rank sixth on that list, although it works out to just one TO every 12.5 minutes.

Kidd also grabbed 8,725 rebounds in his career. That ranks No. 65 all-time, but it’s actually No. 1 among players who played exclusively in the backcourt. LeBron James has more (9,762), but he has played virtually every position on the court.

Kidd is the only player in NBA history with 15,000 points, 10,000 assists and 7,000 rebounds, although James is just 300 assists shy of matching that.

Kidd, 48, is on the sidelines these days, and he’s convinced he’s better prepared to be a head coach than he was during stints in Brooklyn and Milwaukee.

“I’ve learned a lot,” Kidd told the Dallas Morning News. “I’ve learned that you have to listen. As much as you communicate, you’ve got to listen to what players and people around you are saying.

“As a player making that transition to becoming a head coach, you tend to think you know everything. Well, that’s not true.”

Cover photo of Jason Kidd by Jerome Miron, USA Today

Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo