Former NBA player Jason Kidd spent time with Southampton High School students last week as part of a probation deal for pleading guilty to driving while intoxicated.
The roughly 45-minute presentation—which was cut short due to a fire drill—focused on the dangers of drinking and driving, and, according to students in attendance, encouraged students to be careful when behind the wheel.
The speech, which was given to the entire high school student body, was presented immediately before the weekend’s Homecoming festivities kicked off. Media were not permitted to attend.
“I think the school should do more things like this,” senior Jade Kalbacher said after the presentation. “Having a famous guest speaker come and say, ‘This is my experience—take from it what you can.’ Everyone was so attentive and captivated by his story.”
Mr. Kidd, 40, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor DWI in the Southampton Justice Court in July, a little more than one year after driving his 2010 Cadillac Escalade into a telephone pole. He was sentenced to an interim period of probation, which will include performing acts of community service like this one. Mr. Kidd is currently a coach for the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets.
According to Jade, Mr. Kidd’s speech was inspiring because it showed that even a bad situation can have a positive outcome. Mr. Kidd, who told students he has not had a drink since his accident, is spreading the message that nobody is above the law and all actions have consequences, she said.
“He talked about being positive, and I think it was good for the students to see that,” Jade said. “Being a student, we are exposed to so many things, and it is great to have someone that a lot of people look up to inspiring us.”
Another student, junior Garrett Pike, 16, said Mr. Kidd’s speech was different from the run-of-the-mill lecture against drinking and driving, because he was able to use his own personal experience. Garrett said Mr. Kidd was able to take his own mistakes and funnel them into something fruitful for the entire community, so that not only will Mr. Kidd and his family learn, but impressionable teenagers who look up to him will too.
“He explained that it is good to learn from your mistakes,” Garrett said. “His mistake doesn’t define him as a person, and you should not judge someone based on bad choices.
“I think it is good that he is reaching out to the community, because he is not only helping himself but other kids,” Garrett continued. “They are learning to make good choices, and that there is always someone you can talk to, whether at home or at school.”