PLANO -– 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.
It’s a picture of a green-clad Boston Celtic leprechaun sitting atop the Larry O’Brien NBA championship trophy. Terry had a similar photo tattooed on his right biceps prior to the 2010-’11 season, and his Dallas Mavericks went on to win the NBA title that season.
Now that he’s about to enter his first season with the Celtics, Terry is hoping for similar Nostradamus-like results.
“I’ve already got my predictions right here,’’ Terry told the Star-Telegram while pointing to his biceps. “Now it’s a little Celtic man.
“It’s healing up now, but it’s a Celtic man and he’s got the (championship) trophy spinning. That’s nothing to spite what we did in Dallas, but I think we’ve got a team where we’re going to do it again -- there’s no doubt in my mind.’’
Terry has always enjoyed this type of brash talk. It gets his blood boiling and is the fuel behind the success he’s enjoyed during his 13-year NBA career.
“You know me, I love pressure,’’ Terry said. “That’s what it’s all about.
“I think the guys are going to love it, they’re going to love my personality, and they’re going to love my heart and my desire to go out there and win. That’s what I’m bringing to the table.’’
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.
“They were one game away from the Finals last year without me and without Avery Bradley,’’ Terry said. “So you add that with two young big guys that have some defensive presence, and we’ve got a damn good team.
“They were up 3-2 (on Miami) with a chance to close them out at home (in Game 6).’’
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 “going to be
fun’’ as he reaches the twilight of his storied career.
“It’s what I’m all about,’’ Terry said. “You look back at my career and my legacy, it’s what I embodied and it’s all about winning.
“I won in high school, I won in college, I won in the NBA, I won one Olympic Goodwill game gold, so that’s what it’s all about. At the end of the day for me, when you leave this earth it’s 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.’’
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.
“We’ve got the best point guard in the NBA to me in Rajon Rondo,’’ Terry said. “Why? Because he plays both ends of the floor and he facilitates.
“He gets everybody involves, but he can still go out and get his.’’
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.
“Jason Kidd gave him the greatest compliment I’ve ever heard from a Hall of Famer that’s still playing,’’ Terry said. “He said, ‘There’s no question Rajon Rondo is the best point guard.
“ ‘Chris Paul is great. Deron Williams is great, but Rajon Rondo is the best point guard in the NBA.’ ’’
Playing alongside Pierce and Garnett – and being coached by Doc Rivers -- also adds spice to Terry’s basketball future and makes the disappointment of not being able to re-sign with the Mavs more palatable.
“You’ve got two, possibly three, Hall of Famers, and a Hall of Fame coach,’’ Terry said. “You 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 we’re a good team.
“We have a great team on paper. I don’t think chemistry is going to be an issue. It’s a matter of us staying healthy and then we’re going to be there in the end.’’
Terry said it doesn’t matter that he won’t 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.
“I 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,’’ Terry said. “But you know what happened -- he went to the enemy.
“He’s down there with the enemy. I’m 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 that’s going to be fun.’’
With the new collective bargaining agreement, Terry knew it would be a long-shot for him to remain a member of the Mavericks.
“But what’s making the transition smooth for me is that Reebok, who I’m endorsed with, is up there, so I’ve got like an extended family there,’’ Terry said. “And then (the Celtics are) a first-class organization.
“Knowing KG, knowing Rondo, knowing Paul Pierce over the years of competing against them, I already know what I’m walking into. So it’ll be no problem for me adjusting to Doc Rivers’ system and playing.’’
However, what about leaving the comforts of Dallas for weather conditions in Boston that aren’t exactly balmy?
“Now the living conditions are going to be tough,’’ Terry said. “Getting used to the weather, getting used to driving around in a city I know nothing about, it’s tough.
“Obviously it’s hard for me because I’m a Maverick for life. There’s nothing going to change about me and where my heart is with the Mavericks and that organization and what they did for me. I’m very blessed and I’m very thankful.’’
Terry would be even more thankful if his Nostradamus-like prediction will come true – again.
-- Dwain Price
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