Stanton Kidd’s parents had a longstanding rule that the 27-year-old still abides by, having taken it from his Edmondson Village home throughout his basketball travels all over the world.
The 2010 Edmondson graduate packed it with him to Texas, where he won a junior college national championship with South Plains, and to Division I stops at North Carolina Central and Colorado State.
Professional seasons followed in Belgium, Germany and Turkey.
“My mom and dad instilled in me that every time I leave our house, every time I go somewhere, every time I play, I represent this household and our family,” Kidd said. “So you want to do that at a high level every night and always show character and respect to whoever, no matter whether it’s going your way or not.”
Welcoming the grind with that responsibility always in the front of his mind has led the 6-foot-7 wing to his next stop, the one he had been committed to all along. Kidd fulfilled his childhood dream of playing in the NBA when he signed a three-year deal with the Utah Jazz last month.
“Everybody that has been around me and helped me were put into my life for a reason,” Kidd said. “The biggest supporters that I’ve had is my mom and dad and my [two] brothers and sister. They’ve been with me the whole way. I’ve told them since I was young that I’m going to play in the NBA and, of course, when they would hear that, it was like, ‘All right … you know it can definitely happen.’ And it took 20-some years to happen.
“Of course, everybody’s dream is to be drafted at 19 and be in the league. But I’m glad it happened this way for me because I wasn’t mature. Now I’m mature, and I know how to live and know I have this opportunity and can take full advantage of it. I’m coming in as a rookie, but I’m a seasoned rookie.”
Kidd’s story is a family story, a Baltimore City success story and a story of perseverance.
Can it get any better than this for a proud father, Stanley?
Stanley, who played at Morgan State, was in attendance last month watching his son play in the Las Vegas Summer League for the Jazz when Stanton’s agent approached him in the stands.
“He came up to me and said ‘You know, Mr. Kidd, your kid isn’t going overseas no more.’ Oh man, it was like waking up on Christmas morning,” Stanley said.
Kidd fittingly added to the day, hitting the winning basket against the Portland Trail Blazers before joining his father and agent to hear the news.
The biggest phone call he ever made came next.
“When I told my mom, she was screaming she was so happy,” Kidd said. “I can’t describe the smile on my face — we were all just so happy. It’s something I worked so hard for ever since I first touched the ball.
"All I knew was basketball. All I knew was I wanted to play ball and just wanted to be the best at it. For that to finally happen and see their reaction, it just feels good.”
The pride and joy his father has for his son gushes out of him as one story abruptly interrupts another.
“I would say Stanton was maybe 5 or 6 years old …” Stanley said before switching gears.
He then laughed and continued: “I used to talk to Stanton all the time when my wife [Glenda] was pregnant with him. I’d say, ‘There’s a guy out here by the name of Michael Jordan, and when you get here, you’ve got to be better than Mike.’ ”
He then returns to the original story.
“Stanton told my wife one day — he had to be about 5 years old because I was just getting ready to put him in organized ball. He said, ‘Mom, I’m going to make it in the NBA and take care of you and daddy.' That was awesome,” he said.
Kidd said he wouldn’t have made it to the NBA without the journey he took and the people he crossed paths with.
When he first arrived at Edmondson, it was still regarded as a football school. But that didn’t deter him from staying, despite opportunities to go to more traditional basketball powers in the city.
During his three varsity seasons, the city league was stacked with talent. Will Barton, who now plays for the Denver Nuggets, was starring at Lake Clifton. When he moved on, Josh Selby transferred to Lake Clifton as one of the country’s top recruits in his senior year. A pint-sized wonder named Aquille Carr was beginning to make his mark at Patterson. Walbrook had a brash star in Roscoe Smith, who went on to play at Connecticut. Maryland-bound Nick Faust was lighting it up at City.
In Kidd’s senior year, he averaged 23 points, 12 rebounds and six assists to lead the Red Storm to its first Baltimore City Division I championship, earning All-Metro first-team honors. When he talks about the influential people in his life, Edmondson coach Darnell Dantzler quickly comes up.
“Coming up through Edmondson, Coach Darnell was the guy that encouraged me to get the rebound, push the ball up the floor and make a play. He gave me that freedom," he said. “So when I got to the college level and the pro level, I had that established in my game.”
Dantzler, who has since guided the Red Storm to two state titles, declared Kidd as the program’s foundation, and the Red Storm’s 58-56 overtime win in 2010 against the Selby-led Lakers in the Baltimore City title game remains at the top of his list of program victories.
“Stanton was so determined, and he was the catalyst for us in winning that city championship when we beat Josh Selby up there at Morgan,” Dantzler said. “Playing against Selby, Will Barton, Roscoe — once you could see you were able to hold your own and just play and realize you were just as good as they were and even better in certain situations, it speaks volumes and goes with the hard-nosed way Stanton plays.”
Days after signing his NBA contract last week, Kidd was back home calling Dantzler to see if he could open the Edmondson gym to work out. Joining him would be Dantzler’s son and some of his 13-year-old teammates for an impromptu clinic directed by the newly minted NBA player.
“Now I can be one of the guys that can help motivate the up-and coming, show them this is how it can be done, this is what happened for me and this was my journey,” Kidd said.
In summer league, the Jazz were impressed with his work ethic, ability to defend multiple positions and how he consistently was able to make plays for himself and teammates while limiting turnovers. They have asked him to come in, compete at a high level and provide energy day in and day out.
“Stanton has earned an opportunity to compete for a roster spot due to his character and hard work,” Jazz general manager Justin Zanik said. ”We have had a few chances to evaluate him in our building over the last two years. The timing worked for both sides this summer.”
And then they asked for something that will finally be easy for Kidd.
“They told me to come in here and be yourself, the person that we know you are," he said. “I know I have to go in and earn and I’m just excited.”