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Despite Controversy, Jason Kidd Officially Returns To Mavericks As Head Coach

Jason Kidd, in a Dallas Mavericks uniform, talks to Rick Carlisle, in a suit and tie, during a game in 2011.
Eric Gay
Associated Press
Dallas Mavericks' Rick Carlisle and Jason Kidd talk during Game 1 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals against the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2011. Kidd is coming back to Dallas again, this time to replace the coach he won a championship with as the point guard of the Mavericks 10 years ago.

Jason Kidd, a former Dallas Mavericks player, was officially introduced on Thursday as the new head coach of the team. Joined by new general manager Nico Harrison, the two addressed media at their first in-person press conference since the start of the pandemic.

Kidd was drafted by the Mavericks in 1994 before being traded to the Phoenix Suns. He later returned and helped lead the Mavs to a championship in 2011, and also served two seasons as a coach for the Los Angeles Lakers. Kidd is replacing former head coach Rick Carlisle who led the team for 13 seasons.

“What an incredible journey to be drafted to win Rookie of the Year, to win a championship and then to come back to be the head coach to have this opportunity to empower our young players on and off the floor,” he said.

Kidd mentioned that he's excited to work with superstar point guard Luka Doncic, and hopes to develop the team’s roster and ultimately win another national championship.

“Luka is special. I've been around stars like that, in Milwaukee, in LA, also in Brooklyn, and I think he has that flair, that ability to try something," he said. "My job is to help give him the answers, so he can have success and take a lot of that pressure off of him.”

Nico Harrison, who served as a Nike executive for nearly two decades before joining the Mavericks, also mentioned his enthusiasm about Doncic.

“It's tough to nitpick with an all-star NBA player, so the best thing you can do is to be surrounded by a Hall of Fame coach that played his position, and let those two vibe off each other,” Harrison said.

In the last month, Kidd was one of two NBA coaching hires that has got people talking about the league's stance on violence against women.

Kidd pleaded guilty to spousal abuse in 2001. In response to a reporter's question about how the decision to hire Kidd might impact women suffering from domestic abuse, Mavs CEO Cynthia Marshall spoke about her own experience as a survivor of domestic violence.

"It's inappropriate, it's not right," she said, sharing what she, her mom and siblings experienced. "We've gone through our own journey, we've gotten counseling, we've done the thing that we've needed to do to get on with our lives."

Marshall said her heart goes out to anyone who's suffered from domestic violence.

"What I can do is continue to pray for them. I can't give anybody advice, because I don't know their own circumstances," she said. "I'm a woman of faith, and so I have spent a lot of time on my knees, and a lot of time praying to get to where I am right now, where I can actually talk to you about this."

Kidd has made statements saying that he has changed. He said during the press conference on Thursday that he has been in long discussions with Marshall, who has defended his hiring.

Got a tip? Email Haya Panjwani at Follow Haya on Twitter @hayapanjw.

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Haya Panjwani is a general assignment reporter for KUT. She also served as a legislative fellow for The Texas Newsroom during the 2021 legislative session.