Nets coach Kidd always loved the diamond life

By on June 20, 2013
New Nets coach Jason Kidd throws out first pitch at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday as his son, Chance (l.), and starting pitcher Phil Hughes, look on. Robert Sabo/News

Frank Franklin II/AP

New Nets coach Jason Kidd throws out first pitch at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday as his son, Chance (l.), and starting pitcher Phil Hughes, look on.

Though Jason Kidd’s surefire Hall of Fame career came on the hardwood, the former point guard says he’s always had a soft spot for the national pastime.

The new Nets head coach threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday night in the second game of the day-night doubleheader, continuing his media blitz since being hired by Brooklyn on June 13.

“I love playing the game of baseball,” Kidd said. “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. . . . Knowing Derek (Jeter) and Alex (Rodriguez) a little bit, I’m happy to be back in New York to watch the Yankees play.”

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. 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.”

Back over on the hardwood, Kidd says adjusting from player to coach has been a challenge, but it’s one he’s ready to embrace.

“My phone bill is probably high right now, but it’s for a good cause,” Kidd said. “We’re getting organized, that’s the biggest thing I can say. As a player, I can tell them that they don’t want to rush to become a coach because there is a lot that goes on with coaching.”

Kidd confirmed that Brooklyn is already active in dishing out some assistance to his bench.

“We’ve interviewed two guys so far Roy Rogers and Lawrence Frank those are the only two,” Kidd said. “But we’re scheduling some more, so hopefully we’ll have some guys in place here soon.”

Kidd played under Frank as a member of the Nets from 2003-08 and reached two NBA Finals. Rogers, meanwhile, has served under Frank twice, once as an assistant with the Nets and the other this past season on the Detroit Pistons.

“I’ve always respected Coach Frank,” Kidd said. “I guess I’m kind of that college recruiter right now. He brings a lot to the table to have success here.

“He understands the good and bad. Again, I’m recruiting him to come and join my staff.”

Kidd, 40, was expected to be in court for a DWI charge on Thursday, but is now scheduled to appear on July 18.


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