Jason Kidd jumped on The Ben and Skin Show on 103.3 FM ESPN Radio on Tuesday to discuss injury, age, and recovery, and ended up hitting on a familiar theme with the humble hosts:
Ben Rogers: Back in the day, everyone used to say Mark Cuban was the greatest because the players get to have a Playstation in their locker. But now, isn’t it more about — look, you guys are using cutting-edge technology to get the most out of yourselves to prolong your careers, to be fresher, to recover faster, to heal faster. Between the hyperbaric chamber and liquid nitrogen cryotherapy, are you amazed by how far things have come technology-wise from when you first got in the league?
Jason Kidd: It’s night and day. We still use ice baths and also at the game we put ice on our knees and whatever other joints are hurting, but you can see the technology of cutting-edge medicine — of being able to get in these different chambers and see your body heal, and also be able to perform at a higher level as you get older. That was a perfect example of what we did last year as an older team being able to win a championship.
Kidd’s response is all well and good, but the more interesting concept here is Rogers’ framing of medical technology and innovation as a selling point for players. If trainer proficiency has been made into a factor in recruiting and retaining free agents (as was the case with Grant Hill choosing to return to the Phoenix Suns, for example), then why can’t cryotherapy — a magical tool of rejuvenation and recovery — serve a similar function? It may not factor heavily into the decisions of young players, but as the reputation and awareness of cryotherapeutic treatments increases, these kinds of medical technologies could provide a nice cherry on top of an altogether well-run organization.
Then again, there’s a fine line; as players become more aware of the benefits of cryo, so, too, do other teams. Any advantage the Mavericks have would likely be neutralized in the long-term, but I think there is also some persuasive value in being on the forefront of a movement like this, just as the Mavs have been on the forefront of so many others in the past decade or so.
But, naturally, the most important thing: Widespread usage of cryotherapy throughout the league only makes for better basketball featuring healthier players. Dallas may eventually lose some small competitive advantage, but as fans of the game, we all win.
Be sure to check out The Ben and Skin Show in its entirety for more comments from Kidd, as well as a segment with Marc Stein on Dirk Nowitzki, Jeremy Lin, etc. For the audio-averse out there, I’ve transcribed a pair of questions Kidd fielded on cryotherapy:
Jeff ‘Skin’ Wade: One of the things that I’m assuming you’re using to help you get back is something that Ben and I have recently gone through, and that is cryotherapy. We were told that the first Maverick to buy into cryotherapy and really start using it toward the end of last year was one Jason Kidd. What can you tell us about this?
Kidd: Well, I think cryotherapy is excellent for anybody, not just athletes. I did buy into it at the end of the season, in April. [Mavs trainer] Casey [Smith] asked me to try it out, and I felt great throughout the playoff run, so I thought: ‘Hey, this is something that could help me throughout my career.’ It’s not as bad as getting in the cold tub — that takes you at least two or three minutes just to get in the cold tub. This is a process where you step in the tube, and you’re in there for two and a half or three minutes, and [then] you’re out and you feel great.
Rogers: We knew that C.J. Wilson of the [Texas] Rangers — pitching in that extreme heat — he was using it, and he told us about it…We had Rick Carlisle on the show last year, and we said, ‘Rick have you considered cryotherapy for your players?’ and man, he stonewalled us. He was like ‘Guys, I have no idea what you’re talking about.’ And we came to find out that you guys were all about cryotherapy. So now, more and more people are learning about it and they say [that] in the future, it’ll be in every locker room, but do you guys think, in a way, it was a bit of a secret weapon last year to help you guys get rejuvenated?
Kidd: We did. We thought it was our secret weapon because of what it did and how it made everyone feel. In Portland, Nike had one on campus so during the Portland series we got to use the one at Nike. They also had one in L.A., but the drive was a little bit too far. But we definitely used it in that series. The big thing is that I think it’s gonna be in every locker room and probably [on] every campus because of what it does to the body, how you feel, and the success rate that it’s had so far.