Jason Terry makes no secret of his upbringing and the role it had in shaping who he is today -- both as a basketball player and a person. And in these NBA Finals, the world is getting reintroduced to our lovable little trash-talker from Seattle as Terry has taken over in the fourth quarter the past two games, giving the Dallas Mavericks a 3-2 series lead over the Miami Heat. On Thursday night, after Terry iced the game with a seemingly impossible three over LeBron James, he sat down and immediately spoke of Seattle, and a legend in the city.
Terry answered the first question -- about his trash-talking, of course -- by calling upon his upbringing, and recalling how he idolized Gary Payton.
"Sometimes (Dirk Nowitzki) puts a muzzle on me," Terry said. "He don't like me to talk to you guys too much because I give away the game plan. It's something I grew up with, watching my idols like Gary Payton and guys like that. Being from the inner-city, it's just part of my game."
Payton still shapes much of the basketball landscape in Seattle -- the older generations know him as a friend while the younger generations look up to him as a mentor. For Terry, the relationship took a weird twist last week when he continued his tradition of wearing the shorts of his opponent to bed. Only this time, they had extra special meaning.
He wore a special pair Monday night prior to the Mavs' NBA Finals opener in Miami: Gary Payton's shorts from the 2006 Finals. Payton gave Terry those shorts just after the Heat topped the Mavericks to win the title.
You can say what you what about Terry's brash personality, but he's one of ours, and he embraces the city as much as anyone. And in these NBA Finals, Terry has made himself the center of attention, both with his play and his often hilarious words.