There’s a new book on Giannis that dropped on August 10th written by Mirin Fader, and let me tell you, it’s a delight. Because it’s just not about the Greek Freak, it’s also a lot about… how Jason Kidd has some… interesting leadership philosophies and tactics to motivate his team.
There are coaches that are known to be militant like Tom Thibodeau and then there are people who take it to another level.
Jason Kidd appears to be on that next level.
Kidd was the coach of Milwaukee when Giannis arrived as a raw rookie from Greece, and the stories that are coming out now about his tenure as the Bucks coach? Damn. Let’s just say, the Dallas Mavericks PR staff is gonna be in full on crisis mode.
There are now tons of stories circling social media about Jason Kidd, and they are all wildly absurd and entertaining. Some are true and some seem to be easily debunked.
Let’s start with the one that can’t be debunked: the infamous “Christmas Eve Practice” incident outlined in the book.
The background is this. Kidd allegedly scheduled a last-minute practice on Christmas Eve after the team lost to the Charlotte Hornets in what the former coach called a “winnable” game.
First of all, that’s a dick move, to begin with. But there’s SO MUCH more.
According to the book, Kidd asked the players in front of each other if they deserve to be off on Christmas Eve after the loss. The players voiced their opinions on the matter (of course no one wanted to practice) but guess what? Kidd scheduled a 9 a.m. practice anyway. “I don’t care,” Kidd said. “You guys get paid to do a job, so you’re doing your job tomorrow. Things change.”
Didn’t matter that his team told their families they would be flying home for the holidays. Or promised their kids they would get to play 2k and watch Christmas Day games in their matching PJs after unwrapping their presents. No No, that random winnable December game against the Charlotte Hornets NEEDS to be ATONED for.
And it wasn’t just any practice. It was a militaristic, 5 hour long, Tough Mudder meets triathlon style practice. Something that would make a Sargeant even say “maybe this is too much?”.
How bad was it? Let’s break it down.
Everyone was forced to cancel plans and attend early morning practice on Christmas Eve day. When they arrived, Kidd made them run wind sprints like a college team. He did this for THREE FUCKING HOURS. Literally ran conditioning drills until noon.
And after it was over? He made them hit the pool and weight room, “even despite some of the team's players not knowing how to swim.” Holy. Shit.
The book reports that Kidd singled out Milwaukee big man Larry Sanders at that practice, calling him a "piece of shit" and a "terrible player." Now, Sanders wasn’t Shaq, but obviously that left a mark, as Sanders said Kidd’s verbal berating “broke him down physically and mentally” to the point he had “full body convulsions.” Sanders left practice without permission and checked himself into a hospital and spent the night there.
Remember, Larry Sanders eventually ended up in a facility for anxiety, depression and mood disorders. Conditions that pre-date this practice, but you don’t think Kidd might want to, I don’t know, dial back the verbal abuse for one of his more mentally fragile players?
Seems like a prudent move in my opinion. That’s just me.
Zaza Pachulia summed up just how bad this one practice was when he said, "Everybody was so tired that nobody was thinking about Christmas. We didn't have energy left to open gifts."
WHAT THE FUCK?
There are other stories about Kidd’s coaching that leave you scratching your head. After all, Kevin Garnett reportedly hated Kidd’s coaching style so much that Paul Pierce thought Garnett was going to beat him to death, interestingly also on Christmas.
Maybe Jason Kidd just hates Christmas?
But a measure of how weird the Jason Kidd era was in Milwaukee is that there are CRAZY stories going around about him on social media that people want desperately to believe are true, despite the fact they are clearly fiction.
For example, a TON of people actually believe that Kidd was obsessed with water slides, even though it’s not true. Yes, someone fooled the internet with a tweet about Jason Kidd’s obsession with Water Parks.
A bunch of outlets like Outkick were fooled… but the fact that people bought into it says everything you need to know about how strange Kidd was in Milwaukee. People actually believed that Kidd not only ate lunch four times a week at a local water park, he also would draw photos of water slides on the whiteboard during timeouts with the game on the line.
OF COURSE THAT’S NOT TRUE. This is Onion-level stuff here.
But it says a lot that people immediately bought it.
Here’s what I do know about Jason Kidd.
The first time he tries to make Luka run ANY wind sprint, let alone one on Christmas? Jason Kidd is getting FIRED. Luka will not allow that shit. He’s already known for barking back at coaches when he doesn’t like the nonsense they pull. On top of that, Luka has Mark Cuban FIRMLY in his pocket and on speed dial.
And who knows? If they win a chip, maybe we’ll actually see Jason Kidd and Luka Doncic floating down a lazy river together in inner tubes, just like the internet dreams of.