But taking all this into account, my pick for the best to ever wear number 5 in the NBA is Jason Kidd. I know he didn't wear the number for his entire career, but he did wear it for a large chunk of his Hall of Fame caliber NBA career (95-97 with the Mavs and 02-08 with the New Jersey Nets, ~ 10 NBA seasons).
Kidd was highly acclaimed as a premier point guard at Cal, and was selected with the number 2 overall pick in the 1994 NBA draft by Dallas. He'd spend 2 2/3 years honing his skills as a Mav before being sent to Phoenix, where, with the retirement of Van Arsdale's number 5, Kidd chose to wear number 32.
4 1/3 seasons were spent in Phoenix, where Kidd would twice lead the league in assists, before he moved on to lead the New Jersey Nets. Playing in East Rutherford, Kidd once again donned the familiar number 5. And it suited him well. As a Net, Kidd would immediately lead the league in steals with 175 during the 2001-02 season. His leadership helped the Nets reach the NBA finals in his first season with the team, although they were beaten by the Lakers.
The following season, he would once again lead the league in assists with 711. Again, Kidd led the Nets to the NBA finals. This time it was against the Spurs, but unfortunately for the Nets, it had the same result as the previous years' trip to the finals.
He would play as a Net into the 2007-08 season, marking his time in New Jersey as one of the best, if not the best, eras in the history of that team.
During the 2007-08 season, it was back to the Dallas Mavericks, but no longer in the number 5. Wearing number 2, Kidd continued to dish the rock and set up his teammates for mucho points, while also improving his own shooting ability. Through the 2010-11 season, Kidd has once again led his team to the NBA finals, this time against the "dream team" Miami Heat.
- 1994-95 NBA Rookie of the Year
- 1,795 career 3-pointers (3rd all-time)
- 2,477 career steals (3rd all-time)
- 11,578 career steals (2nd all-time)
- 2.0 career steals per game (14th all-time)
- 16,772 career points (84th all-time)
Get your own Jason Kidd number 5 jersey here.