No. 5 raised to Haas Pavilion rafters

Updated: February 14, 2004, 10:57 PM ET
Associated Press

BERKELEY, Calif. -- Cal picked the perfect way to fire up its basketball fans Saturday: bring Jason Kidd into the building.

The Golden Bears retired Kidd's No. 5 jersey before playing No. 2 and unbeaten Stanford. His uniform joins Kevin Johnson's No. 11 and Alfred Grigsby's No. 4 hanging from the rafters in Haas Pavilion.

"I'm very honored," said Kidd, who played for the Bears from 1992-94 and led them to back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances. "When coach (Ben) Braun approached me about retiring my jersey, I didn't think I did enough to get it retired, but he did."

Fans chanted "We Love Jason!" before he was introduced.

The New Jersey Nets' guard flew to Northern California on Saturday afternoon from Los Angeles, where he will play for the Eastern Conference in his sixth NBA All-Star game Sunday.

Kidd was joined by his family and three of his former Cal teammates, including Grigsby.

During his first year in Berkeley, Kidd earned national freshman of the year honors and led the country with a school-record 110 steals. The following season, he passed for 272 assists to break his own school record and again led the nation. He had 18 assists in a loss to Stanford that still haunts him.

Kidd declared himself eligible for the NBA draft following his sophomore season and was picked second overall by the Dallas Mavericks.

"Everything I did here was for a purpose and everything turned out good," said Kidd, who grew up in nearby Oakland playing against Gary Payton.

Kidd is credited by many for putting the Cal basketball program on the map.

"You have been an inspiration to Cal basketball players, coaches and fans," Braun said. "We admire your work ethic and consider you the ultimate team player. We welcome you to Haas Pavilion. We welcome you back home."


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press