June 3, 2013 / 5:45 PM / 6 years ago

Knicks guard Kidd retires after 19 seasons

(Reuters) - Former All-Star point guard Jason Kidd is retiring after 19 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA), the New York Knicks player said on Monday.

Kidd, 40, completed his career ranked second overall in assists (12,091) and steals (2,684) to Hall of Famer John Stockton and averaged 12.6 points and 8.7 assists per game.

He earned All-Star honors 10 times while playing for Dallas, Phoenix, New Jersey and New York. He won an NBA title with Dallas and played on two gold medal-winning U.S. Olympic basketball teams.

“My time in professional basketball has been an incredible journey, but one that must come to an end after 19 years,” Kidd said in a statement.

“I look back fondly at every season and thank each every one of my teammates and coaches that joined me on the court.”

He said it was time to think about coaching or working as a broadcaster.

“One of the best point guards ever and one of the fiercest competitors I have ever played with,” Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki, who won an NBA title with Kidd in 2011, said on Twitter.

“Amazing career. He always put the team and winning first.”

To Brooklyn Nets General Manager Billy King, Kidd, who captained the Nets to NBA Finals appearances in 2002 and 2003, “is considered the greatest player in the Nets’ NBA history.”

His retirement came two days after the Los Angeles Clippers’ Grant Hill, also 40, announced he was leaving the game. The two shared rookie of the year honors in 1995.

Highly respected around the league, Kidd became the first back-to-back winner of the NBA’s sportsman of the year award in April.

“Jason provided an incredible voice inside our locker room and I considered it an honor to say I coached him,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said.

Kidd started 48 of the Knicks’ 76 games last season, posting averages of 6.0 points and 3.3 assists.

He had two years remaining on his Knicks contract but said he decided over the weekend now was the time to retire.

“We told them (earlier) that I wanted to come back and play,” Kidd said. “But this weekend was when we got a chance to relax... . It is the right thing to do.”

Reporting by Gene Cherry in Raleigh, North Carolina; Editing by Julian Linden and Frank Pingue

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