For the last eight seasons, Jason Eugene Terry has called Dallas home and the Mavericks his team. For the last eight seasons #31 jerseys have filled the local setting and the sound of a plane taking off – or a jet – became as iconic of a noise in the city of Dallas as, well, Dallas.
Over a dozen headbands and wristbands fill my desk drawer, all game worn and none ever, ever washed or even rinsed with the smallest amount of soap or water, despite my mother’s best efforts.
In a fanatic, awesome, and probably grows way, I wanted every last drop of sweat absorbed in the smelly cloth that had come off of one of my very favorite athletes of all time, an idol, a role model, a Dallas basketball ambassador, and also an amazing person, to remain completely authentic without any cleaning supplies damaging my prized possession.
I wanted the incomparable passion, effort, hard work, dedication and lively spirit to remain untouched and left as it was. Because only one thing can put a price on all of these things – a championship.
And the JET delivered.
His legacy as a Dallas Maverick will be remembered as a world champion just like his teammates from that astounding Finals run, but excluding dat dude Dirk, Jason Terry is, was, and will be the most remembered player from the 2011 champion Dallas Mavericks.
Perhaps future Hall of Fame point guard Jason Kidd or one-and-done Mavs center Tyson Chandler (for all the opposite reasons one-and-done’s happen) could compete for the “robin” tag of that club, but in my mind there is no doubt that the JET was second in command on the operation that finally delivered Dallas its first basketball title.
In case you missed it, the Mavs knocked off the newly aligned “Super Team” of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Boshasaurus and the Miami Heat a year ago, appropriately salvaging their humiliating 2006 NBA Finals defeat to the same squad, sans LeBron, plus Shaquille O’Neal. (Who you can now find on TNT’s Inside the NBA giving all his heart to contribute anything but jokes and loud noises to the show)
The only living proof on the Mavs’ active roster from that revenge-seeking squad were Nowitzki and the JET himself. They remember that 2-0 lead they carried on the road to Miami after taking care of business to begin the Finals at home. And they also remember the epic collapse that took place in Game 3, turning the tide of the series and beginning a run of four straight Heat victories and evading Dallas of their first title.
Five years later, the beautiful – just beautiful circle of life reuinited Terry and Dirk with the Heat and gave the aging pair of Mavericks the incredible but also incredibly rare chance to get sweet, oh so sweet redemption, and guided by the eventual Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki, the electric presence of Jason Terry off the bench sparked the Mavs at the most opportune times and captured that seemingly elusive Championship.
The 2011 Mavericks were the first team since the 2004 Detroit Pistons to win the NBA title without two bonafide all-star caliber players. Kobe had Gasol, Pierce had Garnett and Allen, Duncan had Parker, Wade had Shaq and Shaq had Kobe.
Then came the bold, the risky, the unprecedented, daring, risky and bold and risky chain of moves from beloved Mavericks owner and finally the engineer of a championship club Mark Cuban to break up that team just achieved basketball heaven to secure just the opportunity to be in line to land another superstar on the free agent market in the Summer of 2012. As of Monday, July 9, 2012 Captains Log, we know how that is turning out.
Tyson Chandler, JJ Barea, Caron Butler, and Deshawn Stevenson all left without much interest from their former squad and reigning champion to match what they were being offered elsewhere. The plan was to save every penny, every single one. This includes the dealing of capable swingmen Corey Brewer and Rudy Fernandez for a second round pick and a big sigh. The biggest blunder here is letting a fan favorite and organization grown talent and personality like Jose Juan Barea sign with the Timberwolves and guarantee himself a title-less career until at least 2021.
Deron Williams re-signed with the Nets, Dwight Howard remains at large, (pun heavily intended) Steve Nash is a Laker, Delonte West also remains at large (okay, no pun there) and along with Jason KIdd, (Knicks) Jason Terry has moved on to the seriously contending Boston Celtics for just 3 years and $15 million, an offer Dallas could have easily matched and was even given the opportunity by Terry to do so, but management chose to stick to the plan that has devastated the Mavericks roster in the past week, leaving the team with just 7 players under contract and three rookies.
The Texas Rangers have 8 all-stars. The Dallas Mavericks have 7 players. (exlcuding unsigned rookies for those fellow roster nerds)
Things change fast, though, as seen in South Beach. Darth (Pat) Riley turned the warning sign in human form of Michael Beasley and a handful of draft picks into Chris Bosh and LeBron James and back-to-back Finals appearances, the latter producing the first Super-Team championship that has the followers of the National Basketball Association livid at the “Money, I bought the Chip” strategy that Miami did indeed implement and execute beautifully.
Oh, and they just signed Ray Allen. Until next time…
Please follow me on Twitter @MavsJB1DRangers…every follow counts! Especially when I have less than****** Snookie