Posts Tagged ‘Kerry Kittles’

Opportunity knocks again for Kidd

Everyone today is still feeling Dirk Nowitzki’s pain, five years from watching a 2-0 lead on Miami melt away in the NBA Finals.

But what about feeling Jason Kidd’s misery?

He watched two straight trips to The Finals (in 2002 and ’03) evaporate. They were two trips most people forget about, only because it was done with the Nets, you know.

Yes, while Kidd and Nowitzki, headed back to The Finals, take a brief moment to share notes and swap war stories about their agonies, Kidd will reach for the tissue box first.

Dirk: “We were up 2-0, man. With home-court advantage!”

Kidd: “At least you had a home-court advantage. We had to beg fans to show up.”

Dirk: “Dwyane Wade was a beast. Too much to overcome.”

Kidd: “Try beating Shaq and Kobe and then Duncan and Robinson.”

Dirk: “This may be my last chance. I’m 32.”

Kidd: “Got you by six years.”

Kidd will enter the championship series, then, in a more desperate state than Dirk. He is No. 2 on the all-time assists list, one of the top pure point guards in NBA history and is surprisingly frisky today at age 38. He’s also in danger of becoming the next John Stockton: great player, no rings.

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The Kobe-Calipari Connection

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Kentucky coach John Calipari is a busy man these days, taking yet another team to the Final Four.

He’s got connections with some of the NBA’s best young players and with some of the league’s future stars that are still playing for the Big Blue Nation.

He coached each of the past two NBA Rookies of the Year, Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans, while they were in college at Memphis.

One near connection that surprised us, though, was Calipari’s link that never was to Lakers star Kobe Bryant. My main man Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports detailed their intriguing history on the weekend Calipari, the former Nets coach, was back in his old stomping grounds to punch the Wildcats’ ticket to the Final Four:

This was 1996. Cal was the new coach of the New Jersey Nets, fresh out of the college ranks at Massachusetts. Bryant was a high schooler from suburban Philadelphia, the first modern player who was academically qualified for college to say he was jumping straight to the NBA anyway.

The Nets had the eighth pick overall, too high, many said, for an unproven 18-year-old. With each drill Cal ran Bryant through at the Fairleigh Dickinson University gym, he grew convinced otherwise.

“If you watched the workouts, you’d say either this kid has been taught to fool us in the workouts or he’s ridiculous,” Calipari said, back here in Jersey, now preparing his Kentucky Wildcats for a Sweet 16 game Friday against Ohio State.

“I worked him out three times and I thought I was losing my mind. Obviously I wasn’t. He was really good. I’d brought him in a third time because I just said, ‘I’ve got to see this kid again because this is ridiculous.’”

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