DALLAS -- The first step in any self-help program is to get over the denial.
So for Jason Kidd to become a great three-point shooter, he first had to admit that he wasn't one.
And make no mistake, he's a great three-point shooter now. You don't hoist 414 three-pointers and make 42.5 percent like he did this season without having the skill.
But it wasn't always this way.
For more than a decade, the scouting report said to ignore Kidd on the three-point arc. Let him fling away. Turn a passer into a shooter, as the NBA saying goes.
"It's always been in my DNA to get the ball to my teammates," Kidd says. "I've always said that I could make a shot. It's just a matter of getting the fundamentals down and believing in it."
Kidd spent the first dozen seasons of his long career shooting the ball poorly from the perimeter. He was so good at passing it to teammates and driving it to the basket for easy layups or dump-off passes that the shot was considered a bonus when it went in.
But as time went on, Kidd grew tired of having that hole in his game. He didn't like it when people said he couldn't shoot. And he hated it when he lost the post-practice shooting games with teammates. Even when you have a lot of Benjamins, you don't like losing them to friends who treat it like free money.
So Kidd knew there was only one way to fix this. It was going to take work. And help from somebody who knew what they were doing.
Enter Bob Thate. From 2005 to 2008, he was the shooting coach for the New Jersey Nets, and he and Kidd only had a friendly-nod relationship until 2006.
But that changed when Kidd realized he had a problem.
"At the end of the '06 season, Jason came to me and basically said that if he could make shots, it would make the team better and make him a better player," Thate says. "So we really got after it. And he had to be willing to change because he had a lot of flaws in his shot. He never extended his shooting arm, his body was turned to the side, all sorts of problems."
So they went to work in the 2006-07 season, the two of them, along with Eddie House, who was with the Nets at the time.
And it was hard work. Kidd basically hadn't worked on his shot since he learned it as a young player in Oakland, Calif. His whole technique was messed up. But at least it was his technique.
All Thate had to do was force Kidd to un-learn everything.
"When you do something one way your whole life, and somebody tells you that you have to change it to get better, that's tough to hear," Thate says. "But he saw some of the other players I worked with, and they had some success, so he was willing to try."
Thate, who counts one of the game's best shooters, Mike Miller, and Utah's Deron Williams among the players he's worked with, slowly got Kidd to square up to the basket when he was shooting. And the main thing, he said, was getting him to extend his right arm through the shot.
"His son, T.J., would watch us, and I'd ask T.J. what the most important thing for his dad to do was," Thate says. "And T.J. would say: 'Lock it up, dad.' And Jason started locking up that arm totally extended after the shot."
Early during the tutorials, Kidd and Thate had the conversation that both knew they had to have. Kidd was 34 at the time and knew his game would have to change.
"I told him there will come a day when he was not going to be able to beat a guy with the dribble and finish at the rim," Thate says.
So Kidd worked. He worked on his mechanics and repetitions. Lots of repetitions.
Then, fate helped him in the 2007-08 season when he was traded by the Nets to Dallas. It was the perfect team for Kidd to continue to morph from a premier pass-first player to a pure shooter.
With Dirk Nowitzki drawing the defense, Kidd could spot up on the perimeter and get wide-open looks all night.
Before he arrived in Dallas, Kidd's career three-point percentage was .334.
Since joining the Mavericks, he's had a .421 percentage.
It was the blissful collision of his hard work with a good shooting guru on top of joining a team where free looks came easy.
"Now, we've been going on four years working together in the summers," Kidd says of Thate. "The big thing as you get older is your game will change. In New Jersey, we started to get Vince (Carter) the ball more and my job was to spot up. And I knew they would come off of me. So it was my job to knock down the corner 3. And once you start feeling confident with that, you start working behind the rest of the line. I'm always going to be open. That's what people in this league feel -- give him the jump shot. The scouting report hasn't changed in 15 years.
"Dirk sometimes can't believe that I'm always open. But that's what happens when people find it hard to believe."
Kidd will go down as one of the greatest point guards in NBA history because of his passing. His lobs to Roddy Beaubois are more crowd pleasing than his 3-point shots.
But being able to do one makes it easier to do the other.
Kidd learned that and was willing to work to make it happen. Now, you can call him Mr. Jump Shot, too.