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May 30, 2011

Jason Kidd

MIAMI, FLORIDA: Practice Day

Q. Jason, how much does Bob Tate, how much did his involvement get you to where you are right now as a player and sort of the role you have on this team specifically as a shooter?
JASON KIDD: I think he plays a big reason why I'm still playing. A big part in the sense of when I was in Jersey, we could see things were changing and the ball was kind of taken out of my hand. I was kind of stuck in that corner. So for me, if I wanted to continue to keep playing, I had to make shots from behind that line.
And so we started working extremely hard on the three-point shot and just shooting in general. But when I was in Jersey, we sat down and talked about it, and he was probably one of the reasons why I'm still playing.

Q. What is his sort of main message to you that maybe you still think about when you're shooting right now? And are you still working with him at least in the summer?
JASON KIDD: Yes, I still work with him in the summer. One of the main things, keep it simple, is just to lock it up. That was one of his key words to me. Because when I did shoot early in my career, it was more of a flick or a snatch where I didn't follow through. And when you see these guys like Dirk and Ray Allen, Mike Miller, these guys who shoot the ball, they all follow through. LeBron is shooting the ball extremely well. These guys all hold their hand up there. I didn't have that concept down early in my career.

Q. What do you know about this stage and this opportunity and this challenge that you didn't know back in '02 and '03?
JASON KIDD: '02, it was just almost a blur. We were so happy to be there, and we played the Lakers. They were pretty good, so we got swept. But it was just a great experience of understanding what it took to get there. And for us to continue to be hungry in '03 to get back there, that's where we really felt we had the opportunity playing the Spurs maybe to win a championship. And we came up short in six games. But just the experience of there's only two teams, and you're taking this journey that starts in October, you find yourself playing in June.
That is fulfilling, but you also want to win that trophy, win the whole thing. So hopefully this time around we don't come up short.
For my teammates, I've told them to enjoy the moment. It's basketball. Nothing changes, it's just that there's a lot more questions asked and a lot more eyes on you. So don't be intimidated by that.

Q. Jason, I believe most of the starters are born in the '70s. How much can that experience or how much has that experience played into you coming into these Finals and how much can it help you?
JASON KIDD: We are an older team. It showed during the season. We got off to a good start. And then we lose Dirk, and then we turn around and lose Caron for the year. And during that stretch we lost six in a row. We kind of felt the world was coming to an end in that we weren't going to be able to fulfill our goal, and that was to win the championship.
But being a veteran ballclub and the guys we have on the team, I think that made us tighter and made us better in the sense that we knew we had to, you know, do more. In that stretch we had where we lost six in a row, just helped us to understand that we have to do more if we wanted to be successful, and guys did that once we got off that six-game losing streak. Then we got Dirk back and then we started rolling again.
So being born in the '70s definitely helped us this season. And then also in the playoffs. We haven't panicked. We gave up in Game 4 we gave up that 20-point lead to Portland, and then we turned around and bounced right back and got a big win, and then we went up there and closed it.
So I think it has helped us. We haven't panicked. We stayed the course. Being down against Oklahoma City in the fourth quarter, finding a way to win those games. I think our wisdom definitely has helped us. It hasn't hurt us.

Q. 37 years old now. How do you --

Q. 38. How do you compare what you are now to what you were when you were last there with the Nets in The Finals? What's your game like compared to what it was like back then?
JASON KIDD: Well then I was I was shooting, I was rebounding, I was trying to do everything. In the sense if my team was going to win, I had to score, I had to, you know, find the open guy, defend and help rebound.
Here my workload is a little smaller in the sense of scoring and rebounding. I'm trying to help my team win. If it means defending or not have to score 20 points, which I don't have to do that much, but the big thing is just help my teammates understand the moment and stay in the moment. That's my biggest role.

Q. Jason, after those two straight appearances in the NBA Finals, at any point did you wonder whether or not you would get back to The Finals?
JASON KIDD: After those two I thought we were going to go on a roll in Jersey and make it three or four in a row. But teams change and the game changes in a sense. So once I got traded to Dallas, I just knew that at some point, I thought it would be a lot sooner, that I would get back to the Finals. Sometimes things just don't work out that way. You have great teams in this league like the Lakers and the Celtics and San Antonio, who were all winning championships. It didn't work out.
But now we're here. And hopefully we can find a way to win a championship.

Q. You have had a lot of guys step up, especially in the playoffs, around Dirk. You haven't had consistent number 2 or number 3 scorers. Against this team with the big three, how much do you guys have to really collectively assist Dirk in the series?
JASON KIDD: We have to help. All the eyes and everybody knows Dirk is going to touch the ball. He's going to score. But I think it's also shown in this playoff run that he might not score 40 points, and we find that we can win. So he trusts his teammates. And that's the beauty of this team, is that we really don't have that like second scorer. Jet will be our first option. After that anybody can go big, from J.J. to Shawn. And so having that on the floor -- Peja can step in and get hot. So that's the beauty of our team, that you can't focus on two guys, that we have veteran guys who all know how to score.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks, Jason.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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