JASON'S EXPERIENCES AT THE 2000 OLYMPICS, held in Sydney, rank among the fondest of his career, and representing the United States was one of the greatest experiences of his life.
One of the highlights, as he recounted to the Arizona Republic, was watching the American swim team – led by Gary Hall Jr. – rebound from a loss in the relays to dominate its Australian counterparts.
"The great thing about it was the way Gary led a U.S. comeback during the rest of the swimming. I found his parents, met them and congratulated them. Gary was an inspiration. He talked some trash early. But he wouldn't be an American if he didn't talk a little trash. Then he backed it up. That was great stuff."
Inspired by his fellow Olympians, Jason’s effort on the basketball court was at its best. But as he and Team USA discovered, the competition from the rest of the world was far better than he expected.
"Everybody expects teams to be in awe of us. But that just is not the case anymore. The rest of the world is improving, and we have to be ready for that."
In the waning seconds of the semifinals, Team USA found itself with an 84-83 lead over Lithuania. With 9.4 seconds remaining in the game, Jason was fouled. He hit one of two free-throws, and with just over five seconds remaining, Lithuania got the rebound, and a chance to tie –or possibly win.
It was not to be.
Jason’s defense on Lithuanian star Sarunas Jasikevicius was smothering. As recounted by the Associated Press:
Jasikevicius, closely guarded by Kidd, dribbled away almost all of the remaining 5.2 seconds trying to get free before attempting his shot from about 22 feet away.
''I made him turn, and he took a bad shot,'' Kidd said.
When it missed, U.S. coach Rudy Tomjanovich pumped his fist, Carter pointed to the sky and the Americans celebrated at center court as if they had just won the game of their lives.
The U.S. would go on to defeat France, 106-94. For the Games, Jason amassed a formidable stat-line. As reported by USA Basketball:
As a team-appointed tri-captain of the 2000 U.S. Olympic Team, Kidd assisted the USA to an Olympic gold medal in Sydney, Australia, averaging 6.0 ppg., 5.3 rpg. and team highs of 4.4 assists and 1.1 steals a game. He shot 51.6 percent overall from the field and 50.0 percent (4-8 3pt FGs) from 3-point to help the USA team to a perfect 8-0 mark.