Dallas Mavericks coach Jason Kidd runs girls basketball team with friend Kobe Bryant in mind
Jason Kidd Select team is his way of continuing Bryant’s support of women in sports
A game at renowned Rucker Park was rewarding enough for the Jason Kidd Select girls basketball team this past weekend in New York, but in advance of the trip the team’s namesake and his staff discussed how to make the journey more memorable. The consensus: championship rings to celebrate the team’s under-17 national title earlier this year, and as Kidd surprised his team with its new jewelry Thursday night, he reflected on his inspiration.
“We all saw Kobe Bryant, and the light that he was putting on women’s sports,” Kidd said. “When he and his daughter passed, a question became who was going to help pick up the torch.”
Kidd, the coach of the Dallas Mavericks, wants you to know that he can’t, by any means, be Bryant, the legendary Los Angeles Lakers guard who, with his daughter Gianna’s interest and love of the game in mind, became a singular force with his support and inspiration to a long line of female athletes.
Kidd’s goal with the launch in 2021 of Jason Kidd Select, one year after Bryant’s tragic death in 2020, is to do his part to continue his friend’s vision.
“Whatever I could do to help women in the world of sports, I want to be involved,” Kidd said of his Bay Area program in California. “I want to help women achieve their goals, I want to help give them opportunities to be successful whether it’s playing basketball or using their scholarships to become doctors, lawyers or politicians.”
It’s Kidd’s goal to see all of the players from his program earn college scholarships. Since 2021, all of the Jason Kidd Select team players have received Division I scholarships. Some of them played at schools that include Cal, Penn, Florida State, Texas Southern, Cornell and Arizona State.
“We’re helping hundreds of kids and we measure success not by going to a five-star school, but going to even the so-called smaller programs that will help prepare them for their next step in life,” Kidd said. “I’m happy to be a part of this, and I think there are other retired and active players that are doing the same to help these young women.”
One of the players on this year’s 17U national championship team, Jordan Lee, recently announced she’ll play at Texas following her senior season at St. Mary’s High School in Stockton, California. In August, Lee was named the MVP of Curry Camp, run by Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, that featured some of the top girls basketball players in the nation.
“I made the switch [to Jason Kidd Select in 2021] and it’s been amazing,” said Lee, who plans to attend medical school after college. “[Kidd] comes to one or two tournaments every year and from breaking down how to read screens and switches to other areas of the game, he’s given me some great advice over the years.”
Kidd is proud of the development of Lee, who has been one of the program’s highest-rated athletes.
“She’s special and has a great work ethic,” Kidd said. “She’s had incredible summers the last two years and just slowly continued to climb the charts.”
Kidd is pleased with the direction of the women’s game that has experienced growth with the women’s NCAA championship game that set viewership records and a competitive WNBA season that ends in October.
“The women’s Final Four in Dallas was incredible,” Kidd said. “LSU winning the title was really cool, but I thought [Caitlin Clark] captured everyone’s attention with her style that, with the way she plays the game, reminds you of Steph Curry.”
While his NBA responsibilities will keep Kidd busy with the season about to start, he’ll do his best to keep checking in with his players.
“This was our third year, and it was fun being involved,” Kidd said. “I’ll continue to make time for the young ladies, to be able to talk to them when I can.”
The time he dedicates to the players is largely inspired by Bryant.
“His daughter was playing and he gave everything to her and the game by launching a program, and I thought that was special,” Kidd said. “All I’m trying to do is continue the charge.”