The influences who shaped Jason Terry's career


The influences who shaped Jason Terry's career

Jason Terry: The Creation of a Leader

Jason Terry wasted no time throwing himself into the Boston Celtics culture after signing with the team in July. He tattooed Lucky the Leprechaun with a championship trophy. He declared his mission to kill the Miami Heat and Los Angeles Lakers. When asked to compare his role to that of former Celtic-turned-foe Ray Allen, Terry simply replied, Who?

Terry is the new leader of the Celtics bench. In past years, the group had included reserves who wanted to be starters and rookies who didnt want to listen. Not under Terrys guard. The former Sixth Man of the Year and 2011 NBA Champion has the second and third units under close watch in his first season in green.

Push the starters, thats our job, Terry told Our job is to make them better and make it game-like every time we step on the floor. We want it to be even tougher than the game is.

He continued with a laugh, Theyre young, so theyre going to do whatever I say anyways. If I tell them jump on one leg, bark like a dog, theyre going to do it. But what I do is lead by example. I have to make sure Im right every day, make sure Im early, make sure Im in tune with whats going on, and then direct them with my voice.

Terry leads with the experiences and advice he has gathered over the past 35 years. From coaches to former players to, most importantly, his mother, each person who led him in the right direction has influenced the leader he will be on the Celtics this season.


Influence: Mother, Andrea Cheatham

The days and nights were long for Andrea Cheatham. A single mother of 10, she drove a city bus to support her family in Seattle. Back home, Terry, the second oldest, stepped into a leadership role to help raise his brothers and sisters. Feeding, dressing, and getting them off to school, he learned about accountability at a young age.

"Mom is the hugest influence on me growing up just because I saw what she had to endure," Terry said. "I had to have huge responsibilities. But what she was doing was preparing me for when I had my own family and being the head of my family."

Terry learned about unwavering perseverance from his mother. She lost her oldest child, Dele, when he was only two months old. Years later, a tragic accident stole her two-year-old son Caleb during a family picnic after he wandered down to the lake and drowned. Terry, then 12, found his brother.

I walked back by and I just saw his body floating, he recalled. I think about him every day, every day. Its just a situation where I knew that kid was going to be something. He was already a little athlete, running around. He would follow me, so it was tough."

Terry tattooed Caleb and Dele's names down his arms in remembrance. His mother's strength is also permanently imprinted on his mind.

Said Terry, "Watching her struggles and then watching her be strong and still being able to survive is whats given me inner strength to carry on."


Influence: High School Basketball Coach, Lou Hobson

There are talented teenagers who spurn the advice of their coaches. Then there are others who soak up words of wisdom from their elders. Terry was the latter.

As a student athlete at Franklin High School, he lingered over the advice of his coach Lou Hobson. Terry wasn't as highly recruited as other NBA players but he shared the same goal of making it in the pros. He plugged away, practice by practice, game by game, drawing interest from schools including the University of Washington and the University of Arizona, where he played college basketball.

"His motto was, The road to success is always under construction," Terry said of Hobson. "That just told me to keep working every day regardless of the outcome knowing that you can get better. Even when youve seemingly got to the top, theres still another step to go to."


Influence: Former NBA Player, Gary Payton

Terry grew up in Seattle mesmerized by the SuperSonics. Of all the players on the team, fellow guard Gary Payton captured his attention.

Terry looked up to the nine-time All-Star. After watching him as a spectator for years, he became Payton's counterpart when he entered the league in 1999 while Payton was still a member of his hometown team. The two developed a strong relationship as Terry made his way up in the NBA.

"Gary Payton was one of my first role models," Terry explained. "I used to watch him when I was a young kid in high school and we formed a bond and we would just talk throughout the season. He would watch me, I would be watching him, and we would call each other and reflect on what transpired out there in the game."

Payton retired in 2007. By that point Terry had finished his eighth NBA season and was well on his way to a career that would later include a Sixth Man of the Year Award and NBA Championship with the Dallas Mavericks. Payton's mentorship served as one of the foundations for Terry's success, a relationship he is paying forward to younger players on the Celtics.

"He was tremendous for me," said Terry.


Influence: NBA Coach, Avery Johnson

After competing as fellow players, Avery Johnson coached Terry for over three seasons on the Mavericks. He saw Terry's potential as a team leader and encouraged him to step further into the role in spite of its challenges.

"After (me) being in the league for five years, he took me aside and was like, Look, if youre going to play this position, you have to be more vocal and lead by example,'" Terry recounted.

Terry felt frustrated when he teammates didn't always listen, but he believed in Johnson's belief in him. Determined to make an impact, he stuck with his coach's advice.

"He (Johnson) knew I was a killer," said Terry. "He knew my competitive fire and my ability to learn. I was very coachable, receptive, and I watched a lot of film. I think he saw that in me and knew that I could take my game to another level."

The nights of frustration lessened over time and Terry emerged as a leader on the court and in the locker room, a role players around the league respect today.

"It was a process," said Terry, "But he got me there."


Now entering his 14th season in the NBA, Terry is taking everything he has learned from his role models and mentors over the years and sharing it as the leader of the Celtics bench. He views the team as a family, eager to form the types of bonds and relationships that have served as such strong influences in his career with veterans and rookies alike.

"Its about being together, especially when youre going after one common goal," he said. "And we know what that goal is."

Celtics to begin season with Marcus Smart on the shelf

Celtics to begin season with Marcus Smart on the shelf

WALTHAM, Mass. -- The Boston Celtics will be a bit shorthanded for the first few games of the season with Marcus Smart being out with a left ankle sprain injury.
The Celtics were holding out slim hope that it would heal in time for tomorrow’s game against the Brooklyn Nets.
Smart confirmed a report shortly after the injury on October 19 that it would likely be at least a couple weeks before he returned to action.
Following Tuesday’s practice, one in which Smart watched from the sidelines, he gave an update on his ankle injury which occurred in the Celtics’ last preseason game, a 121-96 loss to the New York Knicks.
“A couple weeks, that’s the projection (of a return) they gave me,” Smart said. “They want to make sure we can limit this from happening again.”
Smart said the two-week timetable began from the time of his injury, which means it’s likely that he will miss the Celtics’ first four games of the season.
That’s a much rosier timetable than the left ankle sprain injury Smart suffered as a rookie which kept him sidelined for several weeks afterwards.
“It shouldn’t be too long,” Smart said. “Better safe than sorry.”
His absence will certainly have an impact on a Celtics defense that ranked among the NBA’s best a year ago, and has only gotten stronger with the addition of Al Horford.
But the Celtics have been a "next man up" team for since Stevens has been the head coach. With Smart out, that’s not going to change.
“That’ll be a great opportunity for someone else to step up in his place,” said Celtics head coach Brad Stevens.
Boston guard Isaiah Thomas echoed similar thoughts.
“When somebody’s hurt, the next man has to step up,” Thomas said. “Guys have to take advantage of these opportunities.”
And for Smart, it’ll mean displaying his leadership skills from the sideline.
He’s totally comfortable taking on that role right now.
For his teammates, it might take a little bit of getting used to. Smart has been very loquacious on the Celtics sideline since suffering the injury.
“These last four days, he has been yelling … I told him to shut up a few times,” quipped Isaiah Thomas. “That’s just him, especially when he’s not playing. He’s very vocal.”
Terry Rozier, the likely benefactor in terms of minutes played due to Smart’s injury, agreed.
“He’s been sitting right there in that seat,” said Rozier, adding, “and he hasn’t shut up yet. It’s good; you’re going to need a guy like that who is going to talk to you. It’s like a guy, he says things … it’s like he’s been in the league 10 years. He knows his stuff.”
Smart’s knowledge bank includes understanding that his current injury will probably happen again at some point. The key isn’t dealing with the injury, but how you move forward from it.
“This isn’t my first ankle sprain and I know it won’t be my last,” Smart said. “I just have to let it heal on its own and let your body do what it does.”