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
"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."