On Jason and Jason, or, Cuban and the Jet



We've talked about Cuban's comments on hanging up Jason Kidd's jersey. T-Cat and I even considered having a public debate about it, though secretly we agreed with each other. What we haven't talked about is Jason Terry's jersey, and probably for a good reason--if Terry's jersey doesn't hang in the rafters of the AAC some day, nobody's should but Dirk. And yet, it's probably worth saying that within the cases of the two Jasons, there's something interesting to note about Cuban's psyche, and about the fanbase's.

Why do we debate whether Jason Kidd's jersey should hang in the rafters? I'd argue it's because he's been such a great player and because he won a championship with the Mavericks--but the problem is, those two things aren't CONNECTED facts. Jason Kidd was great at times for the Mavericks and won a championship. But, again, the relationship between those two facts could use some work.

What do I mean? Well, in the 5 years that Kidd ended the season a Maverick, the Mavericks won a championship--and won one other playoff series period. As a Maverick, he averaged a very decent 8.7 points and 8.2 assists in 318 games. He shot over 40% from three three times, and was a good soldier, playing in at least 80 games 4 out of the 5 years. His defense became shockingly epic in the last two minutes--but how many times did you wonder whether, as clutch as he was, the Mavericks might not need that clutchness as much if they had somebody who could fill it up, and they might not need those great passes if they had somebody who could open up the D a bit.

In other words, Jason Kidd was a good player, but not a great player as a Maverick.He was a great player---THEN he was a Maverick. He did a lot for the Mavericks, but he didn't do enough to win more than one playoff series in four years, out side of the championship.

So that's why I say I wouldn't hang up his jersey. But if you ask Cuban, it's because he betrayed the Mavericks. And there's a level on which I understand Cuban's feelings. After all, of all the casualties the last few years, Kidd was the only one who went somewhere else for the same money and the same amount of years he was offered here. If you're Cubes it hurts not only because it seems personal, but because Kidd was one of the few guys he counted on to see what he was doing (other than Deron), and it's clear Kidd didn't.

But---and so we turn to Jason Terry--if Cuban was hurt because he didn't get to keep a player he wanted, he'll have to join the club. You and I didn't get to keep Chandler. And Jason Terry, Mavericks legend, didn't get to get kept. We all knew why Terry was on the way out, and we all saw it coming, but I suppose we never really considered what it must have felt like to BE Jason Terry, whose jersey WILL hang in the AAC. That we would laugh at the idea that the hero of Game 4 against the Lakers, Game 6 against the Heat, and a few other games throughout there, was worthy of an extension.

What's the point of all this? The point is, actually, that very little of this is worth talking about. That business drives you crazy. That some things we understand from one point of view and not from another, and some things we don't understand at all--and that the guy in charge, who pays the bills, has every right to feel sensitive about what he wants to, and not what he does not. But, mostly, the point is that basketball moments are for the fans, and that's all that matters. Contracts and jerseys and free agents are part of something we can't do a thing about.

So, in the words of Mary Oliver, it is only necessary, when you watch a basketball game, "you only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves".

And I'll remember the era of the Two Jasons however I want.

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