Dirk Nowitzki might be crowned the 2011 NBA Finals' MVP, but there were rumblings following the Dallas Mavericks' Game 6 victory over the Miami Heat that the distinction should perhaps be a co-award shared by the German forward. Who else but Jason Terry?
The former Wildcat proved that the sixth man label doesn't mean he's the sixth-best player on his team. There's a reason I argued that he might be the most important piece of the Mavericks (outside of Dirk, of course). And there's a reason why I thought that despite his career on the downturn because of age, he has quickly and suddenly become the most relevant former Arizona basketball player in the NBA.
He knows who he is, his strengths, his weaknesses. He knows he's limited. And he knows how to make it work. It's him just being him.
Terry wasn't even one of three starting guards Dallas head coach Rick Carlisle used during the series with Jason Kidd, J.J. Barea and DeShawn Stevenson being those in front of him in the rotation. But yeah, JET didn't care; he only scored 17 first-half points in Game 6 as Dirk struggled to get into an offensive groove. He only hit some cold-blooded 3s over the helpless arms of LeBron James in Game 5, all after publicly saying the King couldn't lock down for a full playoff series.
It's not a surprise then, how unselfish Terry is. Have you seen every single one of his halftime, pregame or postgame interviews? All of it is about thanking the dude upstairs and thanking his teammates. Every one of his opinions came with a serious yet upbeat manner, a tone that revealed just how excited the 33-year-old was to be in the position to win a championship.
Hell, the tattoo of the Larry O'Brien trophy on his right bicep wasn't a joke. He was serious. JET looked at it every day, made it a mission to prove that the ink wasn't a mistake but rather a prophetic piece of himself. Now, it doesn't have to go anywhere -- it is a piece of him now.
JET stands for more than a good ball player. He's the right kind of a ballplayer, the kind that sacrifices, realizes that his talents are limited and realizes that he can't do it without belief (in God, in his teammates, what have you) and trust in others.
He doesn't stick out in Arizona Wildcat fans' minds like others do; Miles Simon, Mike Bibby, Derrick Williams, Sean Elliott, etc. Yeah, he said not long ago that if he'd have to choose today, he'd attend the University of Washington, and that probably ticked off the Arizona faithful. He came to Tucson because, like his Mavs family, Lute Olson made the Wildcats a brotherhood.
Maybe that was it. Maybe Terry learned the lesson in the Old Pueblo, the lesson of how success is built in time and with trust. But whatever the case may be, it goes to show that you don't need to be the greatest at something to be a winner.
To foster the family, you just need to be yourself. That's JET. And that's why JET just won an NBA title.