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Jason Kidd Retires from the NBA

jason_kidd_retire

Jason Kidd announced his retirement from the NBA earlier today June 3, 2013. Kidd said, “My time in professional basketball has been an incredible journey, but one that must come to an end after 19 years.”

Kidd played in the NBA for 19 seasons and just turned 40 years old this past March. Kidd just finished his first season with the New York Knicks who made it to the second round in the playoffs where they were beat by the Indiana Pacers 4-2.

During his career Kidd played for four teams including the Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns, New Jersey Nets, and the New York Knicks. Jason Kidd said, “As I reflect on my time with the four teams I represented in the N.B.A., I look back fondly at every season and thank each and every one of my teammates and coaches that joined me on the court.” Kidd ends his career with 1 NBA title in 2011 with the Dallas Mavericks and 2 Team USA Olympic gold medals. Kidd had an average of 12.6 points, 8.7 assists, 6.3 rebounds and 1.9 steals a game. But overall Kidd wants to be remembered as a winner; “No matter what percentage, no matter what my numbers say in the sense of points, assists, rebounds and steals, it’s always been about winning. And it will always be about winning … making my teammates better.” And that is just how many will remember Jason_Kidd_pointguardJason Kidd as he is predicted to eventually have his name added to the Hall of Fame. Ohm Youngmisuk wrote on ESPNNewYork.com, “Kidd leaves the game as a sure-fire Hall of Fame point guard.”

Jason Kidd was a phenomenal point guard in the NBA, and one I have had the pleasure of seeing play many times. Kidd was the best at knowing where his teammates were at all times or where they would be and could get them the ball. Kidd had a way of making his assists look effortless.  Kidd was loved and respected by fans, coaches, and teammates. Head coach of the New York Knicks, Mike Woodson said, “Jason provided an incredible voice inside our locker room and I considered it an honor to say I coached him.” Also some tweets that have already gone out to congratulate Jason Kidd include:

James White @flight8, “Man it was just a honor to be in the same locker room as . One of the best to ever lace them up And a great guy.”

Kevin Durant @KDTrey5, “Congrats on a wonderful career JKidd..it was a honor playing against you after watching you dominate as a kid! Enjoy your retirement.”

Baron Davis @Baron_Davis, “ one of the great players of our time. Always tried to pattern my game after him. .”

Congratulations to Jason Kidd for a great career. I wish him the best as he moves on to the next chapter in his life.

Resources:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/04/sports/basketball/jason-kidd-announces-retirement-from-nba.html?_r=0

http://espn.go.com/new-york/nba/story/_/id/9337625/jason-kidd-new-york-knicks-retiring-19-nba-seasons

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Ichiro Suzuki is now a New York Yankee

Yesterday on Monday July 23, 2012 38-year-old Ichiro Suzuki was traded to the New York Yankees. The Seattle Mariners traded Suzuki, their 10-time All-Star outfielder to the New York Yankees in exchange for two right-handed pitchers, D.J. Mitchell and Danny Farquhar. So far this season Suzuki has 406 at-bats with an average of .261. MLB’s first Japanese-born position player, Ichiro Suzuki has played right field for the Seattle Mariners his entire major league career. As a Mariner, Suzuki has won two AL batting titles, 10 Golden Glove awards, and in 2001 was named AL’s MVP and Rookie of the Year. When asked how he felt about leaving his team Suzuki said, “It is hard for me to concisely express my feelings. When I imagined taking off the Mariner uniform, I was overcome with sadness. It has made this a very difficult decision to make.”

But Suzuki knew it was time for him to continue his career somewhere else. Suzuki is in the last year of his 5-year, $90 million contract, but asked the Mariners to be traded because he did not feel it was best for him to stay with the team during their rebuilding process. Through a translator Suzuki said, “When I spent time during the All-Star break to think, I realized that this team has many players in their early 20s. I began to think I should not be on this team next year. I also started to feel a desire to be in an atmosphere that I could have a different kind of stimulation than I have right now.” When the announcement was made that Suzuki was now a Yankee he said, “I’m going from a team having the most losses to a team with the most wins, so it’s been hard to maintain my excitement.” The Yankees are also excited to have Ichiro Suzuki on their team. Yankees’ General Manager Joe Girardi said, “We’re very excited to have him. We feel that he brings a speed element, a tremendous hitter. That speed element is something that we lost when (Gardner) had surgery. So this is a big day for us.”

Earlier this season on April 17, 2012 the Yankees lost their left fielder, Brett Gardner when he obtained a season-ending elbow injury. The Yankees hoped he would be able to return but on July 19, 2012 they learned that Gardner would need surgery that a spokesman said “will most likely conclude his season.” The Yankees plan to replace Gardner with Suzuki as their left fielder.

The Yankees announced the trade just hours before their game Monday night against the Seattle Mariners, the first of a three game series in Seattle. Suzuki made his Yankee debut Monday night at Safeco Field against the team and fans he spent many years with. Suzuki was in the Yankees starting lineup as playing the right field position and batting 8th. When Suzuki came onto the field he was wearing the number 31 and not the number 51 that he wore his entire career, because he did not feel right asking the Yankees for a number that has not been worn by a New York Yankee since Bernie Williams. Suzuki received a standing ovation from the Seattle fans showing their love and respect toward him as he approached the plate for his first at bat as a Yankee. He tipped his cap and bowed to the fans as he responded to their loud, applauding cheers. Throughout the game Suzuki continued showing the fans gratitude as he high-fived fans, threw balls into the stands, and tipped his cap. Suzuki had a good first game as a Yankee when he went 1 of 4, got his 16th stolen base, and caught the final out for the Yankees’ 4-1 win over the Mariners.

Suzuki will be a good fit for the New York Yankees and is exactly what they were looking for. I was very pleased with the way Ichiro Suzuki handled being traded. Many times you see professional players that handle going to a new team in a way that is very messy and disrespectful. It is always good to see a player that handles such a situation the right way and, I believe it says a lot about their character. It was also great to see the fans showing Suzuki such love, and him returning that love all throughout the game with such class. I am sure Suzuki will continue to have a great career, and may even improve now that he is a Yankee.

Here is a great Suzuki highlights video I found, but please be cautious of the language used in the song.

Resources:

http://www.mercurynews.com/other-sports/ci_21142657/baseball-new-york-yankees-acquire-ichiro-suzuki-from

http://espn.go.com/dallas/mlb/story/_/id/8193142/new-york-yankees-acquire-ichiro-suzuki-seattle-mariners

http://mlb.mlb.com/team/player.jsp?player_id=400085#statType=1&sectionType=career&season=2012&gameType=’R’&level=’ALL’

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/20/sports/baseball/yankees-brett-gardner-likely-to-miss-rest-of-the-season.html

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