MIAMI – The tattoo stays.
Jason Terry made sure of that with his work against the Miami Heat in The Finals.
The Dallas Mavericks’ sixth-man extraordinaire went to work in the last three games of the series to help the Mavericks roll to their first title in franchise history while also making sure he wouldn’t have to make a trip to have that Larry O’Brien trophy tattoo removed from the inside of his right bicep.
Terry’s 19 points off the bench before halftime carried the Mavericks while Dirk Nowitzki struggled with his shot early. He finished with a game-high 27 and for the series wound up outplaying the man, LeBron James, the Heat assigned to shut him down.
Terry averaged 18 points on 49 percent shooting from the floor and 39.3 percent from beyond the 3-point line. James averaged 17.8 points on 48 percent shooting from the floor and 32 percent from deep.
The stage fright that seemed to paralyze James in this series, his second trip to the last stretch of the season, had the opposite effect on Terry, who thrived in the magnitude of his second Finals moment. He not only outplayed James, he called him out repeatedly and backed up his words with clutch work when the Mavericks had to have it.
Terry said he was channeling the idols of his youth, namely Gary Payton.
“Everybody knows who GP is, Gary Payton.One of my idols. A good friend,” said Terry, a Seattle native raised on the Payton-Shawn Kemp-led Sonics teams. “It wasn’t about me carrying the team. It was doing my job. My job is to come in and provide a spark, make plays, make shots. I did my job.”
Terry’s confidence was on full display in the elimination situation but in the aftermath he reflected on his roots.
“For me, I just think about my journey,” Terry said. “Where I come from, the inner city of Seattle, growing up many nights on the playground emulating the greats, Isiah Thomas, even my hometown heroes like Slick Watts, “Downtown” Freddy Brown, Magic [Johnson]. Now I’m in the same breath as those guys. They’re champions. Dr. J texted me before Game 6. He said, ‘Hey son, it’s your time.’ I responded to him, ‘I want to be a champion, just like you.’ Now I am.”
And Terry is likely the only one with that tattoo on his arm.