PLANO -â" When asked his NBA predictions for the upcoming season on Monday, all Jason Terry did was point to the freshly-minted tattoo on his left biceps.
Itâs a picture of a green-clad Boston Celtic leprechaun sitting atop the Larry OâBrien NBA championship trophy. Terry had a similar photo tattooed on his right biceps prior to the 2010-â11 season, and his Dallas Mavericks went on to win the NBA title that season.
Now that heâs about to enter his first season with the Celtics, Terry is hoping for similar Nostradamus-like results.
âIâve already got my predictions right here,ââ Terry told the Star-Telegram while pointing to his biceps. âNow itâs a little Celtic man.
âItâs healing up now, but itâs a Celtic man and heâs got the (championship) trophy spinning. Thatâs nothing to spite what we did in Dallas, but I think weâve got a team where weâre going to do it again -- thereâs no doubt in my mind.ââ
Terry has always enjoyed this type of brash talk. It gets his blood boiling and is the fuel behind the success heâs enjoyed during his 13-year NBA career.
âYou know me, I love pressure,ââ Terry said. âThatâs what itâs all about.
âI think the guys are going to love it, theyâre going to love my personality, and theyâre going to love my heart and my desire to go out there and win. Thatâs what Iâm bringing to the table.ââ
Terry signed a three-year, $15 million free agent contract with the Celtics last month after spending eight seasons with the Mavericks. As he surveys the Celtic scene, he noticed that the short-handed Celtics were leading the eventual NBA champion Miami Heat 3-2 in the Eastern Conference Finals before losing the series in seven games.
With a healthy Avery Bradley and Jeff Green, along with rookies Fab Melo and Jared Sullinger, and the addition of Courtney Lee to go with Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo and Brandon Bass, Terry believes the Celtics are poised to add an 18th NBA title to their ultra-rich tradition.
âThey were one game away from the Finals last year without me and without Avery Bradley,ââ Terry said. âSo you add that with two young big guys that have some defensive presence, and weâve got a damn good team.
âThey were up 3-2 (on Miami) with a chance to close them out at home (in Game 6).ââ
The Celtic tradition is what really intrigues Terry, who welcomed 225 kids at his youth camp
Monday at the Plano Sports Authority. Terry said being a part of that tradition is âgoing to be
funââ as he reaches the twilight of his storied career.
âItâs what Iâm all about,ââ Terry said. âYou look back at my career and my legacy, itâs what I embodied and itâs all about winning.
âI won in high school, I won in college, I won in the NBA, I won one Olympic Goodwill game gold, so thatâs what itâs all about. At the end of the day for me, when you leave this earth itâs what did you leave behind? My legacy is going to be predicated on how I won at every level and how I carried
myself on the court.ââ
Nearly all packed up and ready to leave for Boston on Saturday, Terry said the talents of Rondo will weigh heavily on the success of the Celtics.
âWeâve got the best point guard in the NBA to me in Rajon Rondo,ââ Terry said. âWhy? Because he plays both ends of the floor and he facilitates.
âHe gets everybody involves, but he can still go out and get his.ââ
For those who are not sold on Rondo, Terry got a ringing endorsement from Jason Kidd, who left the Mavs last month to sign a three-year, $9 million free agent deal with the New York Knicks.
âJason Kidd gave him the greatest compliment Iâve ever heard from a Hall of Famer thatâs still playing,ââ Terry said. âHe said, âThereâs no question Rajon Rondo is the best point guard.
â âChris Paul is great. Deron Williams is great, but Rajon Rondo is the best point guard in the NBA.â ââ
Playing alongside Pierce and Garnett â" and being coached by Doc Rivers -- also adds spice to Terryâs basketball future and makes the disappointment of not being able to re-sign with the Mavs more palatable.
âYouâve got two, possibly three, Hall of Famers, and a Hall of Fame coach,ââ Terry said. âYou have a young nucleus that is very good, some bigs that are athletic, a couple of guards that are very physical and can play, so weâre a good team.
âWe have a great team on paper. I donât think chemistry is going to be an issue. Itâs a matter of us staying healthy and then weâre going to be there in the end.ââ
Terry said it doesnât matter that he wonât get to play with Ray Allen, who spurned a more lucrative offer to remain with the Celtics but instead decided to sign with the Heat.
âI know (Boston) offered him a contract at the same time they offered me one and they still had room to add Ray Allen and I would have loved to play with him,ââ Terry said. âBut you know what happened -- he went to the enemy.
âHeâs down there with the enemy. Iâm stepping right into a place that I know the passion and heart that Kevin Garnett plays with is the same that I do every night, so thatâs going to be fun.ââ
With the new collective bargaining agreement, Terry knew it would be a long-shot for him to remain a member of the Mavericks.
âBut whatâs making the transition smooth for me is that Reebok, who Iâm endorsed with, is up there, so Iâve got like an extended family there,ââ Terry said. âAnd then (the Celtics are) a first-class organization.
âKnowing KG, knowing Rondo, knowing Paul Pierce over the years of competing against them, I already know what Iâm walking into. So itâll be no problem for me adjusting to Doc Riversâ system and playing.ââ
However, what about leaving the comforts of Dallas for weather conditions in Boston that arenât exactly balmy?
âNow the living conditions are going to be tough,ââ Terry said. âGetting used to the weather, getting used to driving around in a city I know nothing about, itâs tough.
âObviously itâs hard for me because Iâm a Maverick for life. Thereâs nothing going to change about me and where my heart is with the Mavericks and that organization and what they did for me. Iâm very blessed and Iâm very thankful.ââ
Terry would be even more thankful if his Nostradamus-like prediction will come true â" again.
-- Dwain Price
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