College basketball: Jason Kidd endows scholarship at Cal
BERKELEY, Calif. -- Jason Kidd, an NBA champion, 10-time NBA All-Star, two-time Olympic gold medalist, head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks and one of the greatest Golden Bears in history, will endow The Jason Kidd Scholarship for men's basketball at California with a seven-figure financial gift, Director of Athletics Mike Williams announced on Wednesday.
"We are immensely grateful to Jason and his family for this inspirational gift," said Williams of the commitment of over $1 million, an amount which earns Kidd distinction as a Builder of Berkeley. "With this endowed scholarship, Jason Kidd is taking a leadership role in showing everyone in the Cal family how we can provide life-changing experiences for a student-athlete."
Having just tipped off his third season at the helm of the Bucks, Kidd took a pause in his team's busy schedule to describe his passion and pride for Cal, and the philanthropic spirit behind his gift.
"Cal has always been home. Growing up in the Bay Area and then being able to attend Cal, I had two of the most incredible years there and I've always taken pride in wearing the Cal shirt and being able to say I'm a Golden Bear," said Kidd, who arrived from St. Joseph Notre Dame High School in Alameda as two-time state champion and consensus high school player of the year. "The vision behind The Jason Kidd Scholarship endowment is to help the next youth player and family. Being able to give back to the community and to a great school like Cal is a dream come true for me and my family."
Kidd propelled the Bears to consecutive NCAA tournaments in his two-year collegiate career. With this gift, Kidd is now paving the way for future student-athletes to join the Cal family and carry their experiences forward into the world.
"The impact we hope to make with the scholarship is to take away the financial stress in order to allow the young man/student to focus on his education and his craft," Kidd said. "This is an opportunity for me to help a student-athlete be able to focus on school and play basketball at a high level."
As a freshman at Cal in 1992-93, Kidd recorded a school-record 110 steals to lead the nation as he led the Bears to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament, beating LSU and defending champion Duke on his way to being named the National Freshman of the Year. As a sophomore, he posted a single-season school record of 272 assists, and his 204 career steals over those two seasons remain the most in program history. Kidd was the No. 2 overall pick in the NBA Draft of 1994, and in 2004, he was inducted into the Pac-12 Hall of Honor and saw his No. 5 Cal jersey retired at Haas Pavilion.
While no Golden Bear will ever wear Kidd's jersey again, the scholarship in his name forges a permanent link to student-athletes of the future.
"We help men develop from young men and grow into men," said Bears head men's basketball coach Cuonzo Martin. "This is a great transition for our young guys to understand a guy of this magnitude, to give back the way he's giving back, his contributions not only financially but his time, his efforts and his energy. I think it speaks volumes."
As significant as it is to transform a young student-athlete's life with a scholarship opportunity, it is most crucial, Kidd explained, for people to support their university to the best of their individual abilities.
"It's very important to be able to give back," said Kidd. "You're giving someone a chance, a head start. Anybody who can give back, it always comes back to you. It's important that people who have attended Cal find some way, time or money, to support the university."
"Jason Kidd is already legendary on this campus," said Director Williams. "We know him very well as an all-time great basketball player and we've seen him in transformational roles as a player in the NBA and as a coach. The establishment of this scholarship endowment means that his name will be around forever in a different way, a way that shows his generosity, his commitment to Cal and Cal's future."