Lonzo Ball has never met Jason Kidd, but he will no later than Saturday, when the Los Angeles Lakers play the Milwaukee Bucks, the team Kidd coaches.
Kidd is 24 years older than Ball and was the second overall pick in the NBA three years before Ball was even born.
"When I first think of Jason Kidd I think of the Nets," Ball said.
That was actually Kidd's third team, one he joined seven years into his career. And of people comparing Ball to Kidd?
"I'm just grateful for it," Ball said. "He's a legend. That's enough said."
Kidd has never been totally on board with the comparisons. He told the Los Angeles Times in July that it was an honor to be someone people compare young players to. But when asked whether he sees it, he said he hadn't seen Ball play much, and added: "Everybody has their opinion."
On Thursday during a morning show on ESPN, a host told Kidd she thought the comparisons were a stretch. Kidd said he agreed.
"Everybody thought he was going to come out and set the league on fire, but he also has a bulls-eye on his back," Kidd said. "There's other guys in this league that believe that they're better. He has to understand what it means to be prepared and be ready to play on a nightly basis. But he still has a skill set that a lot of guys don't have in this league and that's making his teammates better."
Kidd and Ball came into the league in different ways. Kidd was older than Ball is now. He had spent two seasons in college at the University of California. The Dallas Mavericks drafted Kidd, then traded him two years later. He then spent five years with the Phoenix Suns, being named an All-Star and to the All-NBA team three times during that span. The Suns also made the playoffs each year they had Kidd.
He found his most success with the New Jersey Nets, to whom the Suns traded Kidd in 2001. He led the Nets to the Finals in his first two seasons there (they lost to the Lakers and the Spurs). Then Kidd finished his career with the Mavericks and the Knicks.