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Gary Payton: ‘People don’t know, [Jason Kidd] was the first LeBron’

Gary Payton: ‘People don’t know, [Jason Kidd] was the first LeBron’

Long before the social media era, when anyone can find the next basketball star’s mixtape with a simple click, Jason Kidd was creating a buzz as a bona fide phenom even before delivering his first college basketball assist.

“People don’t know, J was the first LeBron [when it came to the attention surrounding one player] coming out of high school,” fellow Oakland Bay Area native and Basketball Hall of Famer Gary Payton said. “He was good. Really, really good. In the Bay Area, that’s what all the talk was about — J-Kidd.”cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale

In the late 1980s and early ’90s, Kidd was considered the next great basketball phenomenon. The teenager with a mouth full of braces but a 6-foot-4 NBA-ready body was drawing national attention and comparisons to Magic Johnson and Bob Cousy.

Kidd was also being compared to another legendary local passer on the other side of the Bay.1

“Joe Montana was doing the things in the ’80s, winning Super Bowls,” Payton said. “I had left [for college] in ’86 and then J came in and all of the sudden, they [Montana and Kidd] were the biggest things in the Bay Area at the time.”

Fittingly, Kidd will have Payton with him on stage to present him when he is enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday night. It was Payton who mentored Kidd in Oakland, but it was also The Glove’s brutally tough love and psychologically demoralizing practice sessions that often sent Kidd to the brink of quitting basketball as an underclassman in high school.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

Finding himself at the mercy of The Glove’s legendary suffocating defense and soul-crushing trash-talking, Kidd said he was unable to score a single basket against Payton, who is five years older, during games and drills for two years.

“Oh, there were tears,” Kidd told ESPN. “My parents would ask me, ‘What’s wrong?’ I would be like, I think I should pick a different sport because I am not very good at it. He wouldn’t let me score. [And] he would tell me you are not going to score … that I was soft and that I wasn’t good enough. And for a kid in high school that was built up to be this great high school player, it was very humbling and hard to swallow.