NEW YORK — NEW YORK (AP) — Jason Kidd lifted the Nets to their greatest NBA heights, and on Thursday they lifted his No. 5 to the rafters.
The Nets retired Kidd's jersey in a ceremony before their former star coached them against the Miami Heat.
Kidd arrived in New Jersey in 2001 and promptly led the Nets, who had been one of the league's sorriest franchises, to consecutive NBA Finals. He played with them until he was traded midway through the 2007-08 season and is the franchise leader in numerous statistical categories.
The Nets were a perennial Eastern Conference contender throughout the Kidd era and rarely had anything close to that success except when they were an ABA franchise.
"He was the catalyst that made us what we were," said NBA president Rod Thorn, who was the Nets' general manager who acquired Kidd from Phoenix.
Kidd retired last season after spending one season, his 19th, with the New York Knicks. He ranks second in NBA history in assists and steals, and is third in 3-pointers made. He won a pair of Olympic gold medals and helped Dallas win the 2011 NBA championship.
"One of the best point guards to ever play the game, I mean, from my perspective," said Miami's LeBron James, Kidd's teammate on the 2008 U.S. Olympic team.
The banner was the New Jersey Nets' red, white and blue, not the Brooklyn black and white. Kidd joined Julius Erving, Drazen Petrovic, John Williamson, Bill Melchionni and Buck Williams as Nets with their numbers retired.
The ceremony was attended by members of Kidd's family and some former teammates, whom he acknowledged before the banner was raised.
"When I go up there today, I take my teammates with me," he said.