Jason Terry played for six teams in his 19-year NBA career. Though he may fall into the journeyman category, the Seattle native routinely endeared himself to NBA fans with his crafty scoring ability, big personality and unique tattoos. However, the sweet-shooting sixth man achieved Nostradamus status a decade ago for one particular tattoo. As it turns out, Terry’s unique ink set the stage for a magical season for the Mavericks.
Jason Terry joined Mavericks after five years in Atlanta
Despite lasting till the 10th pick, Jason Terry actually ended up outproducing everyone from his 1999 NBA draft class. The Atlanta Hawks selected the sharp-shooting point guard out of Arizona and he quickly became one of the NBA’s most exciting young players. In his second season, Terry averaged 19.7 points—a mark he would never reach again over the next 17 years. In five years in Atlanta, he averaged 16.2 points, 5.5 assists and a solid 36.7 3-point percentage. However, the Hawks routinely finished near the bottom of the NBA standings and never made a playoff appearance.
In August 2004, the Mavericks traded Tony Delk and Antoine Walker to the Hawks for the underrated scorer. It couldn’t have been a more drastic difference. With future Hall of Famer Dirk Nowitzki in his prime, the Mavericks were a perennial playoff powerhouse. In fact, Dallas never missed the playoffs in Terry’s eight-year run with the organization.
Getting over the hump did prove difficult for Mark Cuban’s team. The 2005-06 squad went 60-22 and advanced all the way to the NBA Finals before getting buried by the dynamic duo of Shaq and Dwyane Wade. Still, the heartbreaking defeat didn’t deter Terry’s confidence.
Terry got NBA Finals trophy tattoo before the 2010-11 season
Dial the clock back a decade to 2010. Terry and the Mavericks had just watched Tim Duncan and the Spurs end their season in the first round of the playoffs that spring. Dallas featured a veteran team that included Nowitzki, Jason Kidd, Caron Butler, Shawn Marion and Peja Stojakovic. As the team prepared for the beginning of the 2010-11 season, DeShawn Stevenson had a few of his teammates over to his house.
Besides his personal chef, Stevenson also brought along another key figure: his tattoo artist. That decision proved to be fateful for both Terry and the Mavericks organization. The confident, crafty veteran believed so much in his team that he got a tattoo of the Larry O’Brien Trophy on his right biceps…before the season even started.
“When he first got the tattoo, I said he was crazy,” Stevenson said of the tattoo that is on the inside of Terry’s arm. “I didn’t say it to him. But I’ve never been to the [NBA Finals], and for him to have that now. Wow. And he got that tattoo in October, and it means a lot with what we’ve been through.”
The tattoo certainly raised eyebrows. After all, Terry’s permanent body art reflected a championship that the Mavericks hadn’t even won…yet.
Mavericks defeated the Cavaliers in 2011 NBA Finals
Luckily for Terry, his bold ink proved to be an excellent predictor of what would unfold that year. Dallas went 57-25 during the regular season and finished second in the NBA Southwest Division. While Nowitzki led the team with 23 points per game, Terry and Caron Butler chipped in 15.8 and 15.0, respectively. Tyson Chandler, who arrived via trade over the summer, cemented the defense and provided excellent rebounding.
The Mavericks entered the playoffs as one of the favorites to make the finals and they didn’t disappoint. Nowitzki and Co. blazed through the first three rounds of the postseason before meeting the Miami Heat’s trio of Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh in the finals. Dallas countered The Big Three with suffocating defense and knockdown 3-point shooting.
It took six games for the Mavericks to capture their first NBA title. Jason Terry outscored LeBron in the series and went on to play another seven years before retiring after the 2018 season.