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First Pitch: New Mavs Coach Kidd to Display ‘Baseball Love’ with Rangers

The Mavs legend grew up in California dreaming of being a baseball player

One of Jason Kidd’s first loves was baseball. So as the new Dallas Mavericks head coach settles into his NBA job, it’s also fitting that he’ll reportedly spend Tuesday with the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park, throwing out the ceremonial first pitch before that night’s game.

"I love playing the game of baseball," Kidd said back in 2013 when as the Brooklyn Nets new coach he threw out the first pitch at a New York Yankees game.

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In fact, when kid was coming out of high school in Oakland, his decision to play basketball at Cal was greatly influenced by the schools thoughts on his baseball prospects.

A big reason why Kidd chose to attend college at Cal was because the Golden Bears enticed him to play baseball in addition to hoops.

"They knew how much I loved to play the game," said Kidd, who played outfield in high school. "But some of the advisers (said) if you get hit, then it's not going to help. So I took their advice.

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“I don't know if I was good enough to make the team, but I worked out with the guys and it was a lot of fun."

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It worked out okay for Kidd. In 1994 he was drafted by the Mavericks and after winning co-Rookie of the Year he petitioned the team to let him pursue a professional baseball career in the offseason. That never materialized, but eventually Kidd found himself back in Dallas after several NBA stops and in 2011 he helped them win their only NBA title.

Now comes a third chapter in his Dallas journey, with a side trip to Arlington.

“When I was with the Nets (as a player), we used to have a softball game and I thought that was the biggest thing, like playing in a regular-season game.”

The Rangers - as much as they are struggling - don’t need that level of participation from him on Tuesday. One good pitch, and maybe some Hall-of-Fame rub-off positivity will be enough.