Before putting Cal basketball back on the map, winning two Olympic gold medals or etching his name throughout the NBA record book, Jason Kidd was a basketball force of nature at St. Joseph Notre Dame High in Alameda.

"You just knew it then how special a player he was going to be," Jon Barry, who played at rival De La Salle High, said on ESPN. "As a ninth-grader, he was chiseled, he was a man among boys already."

Now 40, Kidd announced his retirement from the NBA on Monday after 19 seasons during which he realized the spectacular promise he displayed as a prep star.

He is the most accomplished basketball player to come out of the Bay Area since Bill Russell in the 1950s and ranks among the handful of greatest point guards in NBA history.

Warriors coach and former rival point guard Mark Jackson wrote on Twitter, "1 of the best to ever do it! Well done bro!!!"

"Amazing career,'' tweeted Dirk Nowitzki, with whom Kidd won an NBA championship on the Dallas Mavericks in 2011. "He always put the team and winning first."

Kidd had two years remaining on his contract with the New York Knicks but steps away from the game after failing to make a field goal in his final 10 playoff games with the team.

Kidd's achievements are stunning:

  • He was a 10-time All-Star, a five-time first-team All-NBA selection and a nine-time first- or second-team all-defensive selection.


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  • He finished his NBA career No. 2 in assists (12,091) and steals (2,684), and No. 3 in 3-point field goals (1,988) and minutes played (50,111). He is the all-time leading rebounder among NBA guards (8,725).

  • Kidd compiled 107 career triple-doubles -- behind only Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson.

  • He won two Olympic gold medals and retired from international play with an undefeated record representing Team USA.

    Bay Area fans saw it all coming. Kidd led St. Joseph to back-to-back state titles, snapping Southern California's dominance, and he did it with flair that captivated everyone who saw him play.

    Already 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds as a high schooler, Kidd had unmatched open-court skills, delivering no-look passes and half-court lobs to the rim that made St. Joseph such a popular attraction that some of its games were moved to Cal State Hayward or the Coliseum Arena.

    A native of San Francisco who grew up in Oakland, Kidd stayed home to attend Cal, which hadn't made noise on the national scene since the Pete Newell era four decades before.

    "Back then, Cal wasn't in the picture. He came in and changed the landscape of the whole program," former Bears teammate Monty Buckley said. "It's something that's hard to explain unless you've actually been on the floor with him."

    Kidd led the Bears to back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances, including a stunning upset of two-time defending champion Duke as a freshman in 1993 that landed him on the cover of Sports Illustrated.

    "You're talking about the defending champs, but Jason Kidd rises to every occasion," said Todd Bozeman, who coached Kidd at Cal. "He's as competitive as anyone I've ever met. An unbelievable basketball mind. So aggressive."

    Kidd averaged 14.9 points, 5.9 rebounds and 8.4 assists in two seasons at Berkeley, where his impact was such that Cal eventually rebuilt Harmon Gym into Haas Pavilion.

    Taken No. 2 overall by Dallas in the 1994 draft, Kidd was a star in the NBA from the outset.

    Asked by ESPN.com to identify the highlights of his career, Kidd said, "The two things that are probably tied for first are winning a championship with the Mavericks and also being able to win a gold medal -- two gold medals with Team USA.

    "And then underneath that will probably be sharing Rookie of the Year with Grant (Hill)."

    Coincidentally, Hill announced his retirement Saturday.

    Barry said Kidd had the whole package.

    "He was one of the fastest players you ever saw. He was the ultimate teammate, a top-five point guard in the history of this league, without question.

    "He made everybody better and he thought three, four plays ahead," Barry said. "He had the greatest basketball mind I ever played against."

    Follow Jeff Faraudo on Twitter at twitter.com/CalBearsBANG.