Can Jason Kidd find the "Magic"?

Updated: June 7, 2002, 2:12 PM ET
By by Corey Roberts, STATS. Inc.
Throughout Jason Kidd's career, the constant comparisons of his playing style to that of one Ervin "Magic" Johnson have been hard to ignore. Even in high school, Kidd's game mirrored that of his childhood idol. He averaged 25 points, 10 assists, seven rebounds and seven assists en route to winning the Naismith Award as the nation's top high school senior. On his way to the NBA, it was obvious that the current Nets' point man could have been the protégé of the former point guard of the Los Angeles Lakers, Kidd's favorite team as a child. When No. 32 -- Johnson's number as a Laker -- was not available when Kidd was drafted by the Mavericks in 1994, he decided to go with No. 5 (three + two). As the Nets continue their NBA Finals battle against their foes from Tinseltown, it is interesting to note the numerous similarities between Johnson and Kidd.

Both players left college, Johnson from Michigan State and Kidd from California, after just two seasons, opting for the NBA. When Kidd entered the draft, the league had not seen a more highly touted point guard coming out of college since Magic made his announcement 15 years prior. Despite playing just two years of college ball, both continue to rank near the top of their respective college team's all-time assists and steals charts. Johnson sits at fifth all-time in assists (491) and seventh in steals (146) for the Spartans, while Kidd is third in assists (494) and first in steals (204) for the Golden Bears.

It has taken Kidd eight NBA seasons to reach the Finals, whereas Johnson was vying for a title in his rookie season. However, looking at the two guards' playoff statistics in their first trip to the NBA Finals, they are strikingly similar. Kidd's numbers are through Game 1 of the Finals: