This season, Celtics guard Jason Terry will be keeping a diary for ESPNBoston.com. In his first entry, Jason talks about why he wanted to come to Boston, the funniest moment from their trip to Europe, the nickname the team now has, and why he already hates the Heat. (--As told to Louise K. Cornetta)
Starting my Celtics career with a trip to Europe with the team was a great bonding experience. Turkey was a little different though. From the sites and the sounds to the food, Turkey was just a little different. The food was an adjustment as the cuisine was not what we were accustomed to. But once we got to Italy, it was better in those aspects. Let me tell you the best part about each leg of the trip. For Turkey, we took a boat trip as a team to a restaurant that was directly on the water. I'm not sure what sea it was, might have been the Black Sea, but definitely one of the seas. Think about that. Think about having restaurant being right in the middle of the sea and the food there was actually great. The rookies got up and got hazed a little bit, all in good fun. The best part of Italy was as a team we walked around the city, toured the big church there and went shopping together. It was interesting to see what guys shopped where. A lot of the guy's opinions were they weren't buying anything they could buy in the States. But of course, everybody ended up at Gucci and Louis [Vuitton] and I was like, "What? You can’t buy that in the States?!"
The funniest moment on the trip was we were attracting a lot of attention because of KG's [Kevin Garnett] size. He's so tall that they recognized him easily. We were getting bombarded by pictures. So all of sudden, KG takes the camera from one lady and started taking pictures of her. We got quite a crowd around us once they saw what he was up to. Definitely a bonding trip and the reason is because you're around each other and you're in foreign territory. You rely on one another to communicate because you mainly just stay in touch with your loved ones through the internet. You kind of lean on one another for the 7-8 days we were there. We ate breakfast together. We ate dinner together. At night, I called it campfire style where we bonded and formed a group called the Wolfpack. So it was the same group of guys downstairs at the hotel sitting under heated lamps telling stories and playing cards -- that was really big for us. The Wolfpack was everybody on the team. Everybody every night was down there but we called it the Wolfpack as a team bonding thing.
I know I'm new to this team. Let me tell you a little bit about myself. I'm from Seattle, Washington. I'm one of 10 children. My mom was a single parent and raised all 10 of us. I'm the second oldest. I had to learn responsibility at an early age because I had to take care of my younger brothers and sisters while my mom was off working long hours driving the city bus. Now that I have a family of my own, it made me a much more responsible adult. I've had some tough obstacles to overcome in life with losing two siblings. The challenges that I went through, was all about sacrifice. In my life and in my career it's been all about the sacrifice. On the court, I've been a player who has always sacrificed. Coming off the bench, when I could easily be starting for any team in the league, I'm showing everyone around me that sometimes sacrificing is good as long as it turns into a winning situation. I learned that from watching my mother sacrifice all her life. She never had the fancy cars or fancy clothes and jewelry because she would always give to us first. She made sure we had shoes and we had clothes. Therefore sometimes she went without. I learned all this at an early age.
As for my playing career, at the University of Arizona, which we call the Guard U., in my sophomore year guys like Damon Stoudamire, Steve Kerr, Sean Elliott, and Sean Rooks would come back and play against the guys that were in school. One day I was out there just tearing it up. I was thinking that if I can do this against the pros then maybe I do have a shot of playing in the NBA. My goal when I got to college was to, one, get a degree, and two, was to play professionally, and not necessarily in the NBA. So after that day and after winning the National Championship in `97 in my sophomore year, we had a lot of scouts start coming to practice. I realized that if I worked hard, I realistically could do this. I followed the leadership of my teammate Mike Bibby by watching him workout every day with what he did and his preparation to go to the NBA. I followed his routine to a tee, that's why I made it.
Since we're talking about winning championships, you probably already know I won the NBA championship in 2010-11 season with the Dallas Mavericks. It was really disappointing when we didn't get a chance to defend our championship with the exact same team we had the previous year. But I take with me the friendships, especially with guys like DeShawn Stevenson, Jason Kidd, Shawn Marion, Tyson Chandler and J.J. Barera. Those are the bonds that you'll never forget. Now that I see those guys on other teams, you always think back about how we accomplished something great. There are so many guys who don't have the opportunity to play for one championship, let alone win it. We were a unique and special group. We did get that job done.
To win a championship, you have to have team unity. Everybody has to be on the same page and buy into the system that the coach has. You have to have veteran leadership and we had the best in Jason Kidd, who was our point guard. Then you have to have faith and belief, not only in each other but in yourself. I think we had all those qualities on that team. Then also the stars lined up for us. I mean, we were just playing great basketball, team basketball, at the right time.
Now I'm a Boston Celtic. I wanted to come to Boston because I wanted another opportunity to play for a championship. I saw their roster and knew what the coach, Doc Rivers, was about. I first met Doc in 2001 when he was the assistant coach for the Goodwill Games I was playing in. There were several factors for why I wanted to play for him. One, he's a champion. Two, he's a future Hall of Famer. Three, he's a guy who has played the game. So he knows. He knows as a veteran player when to kind of pull back and when to get on you. He knows how to put each player in a position to be successful out there on the court and that is valuable.
Another reason I wanted to come to Boston is the history and the heritage of the Celtics organization. You know every year they are going to be fighting for a championship. Regardless of who is in those uniforms, they are going to be one of the last two, three teams standing in the end. I wanted to be a part of that. I wanted to be able to one day say, "Man, I was on the Boston Celtics." John Havlicek, Don Nelson, all the history here. Bill Russell lives by my mom in Washington. I wanted to be a part of that rich culture because I'm a basketball historian. After 13 years in the league, when you become a free agent you look at three teams: The Lakers, the Celtics and maybe the Knicks. But really, you know Boston and L.A. are class organizations.
It didn't take me long to embrace being a Celtic. I hate whoever they hate. The Lakers are number one up there and the Heat aren't too far behind. Doc tells us every day to think about the Heat. Not only does he tell us, but the film plays over and over if you go to the practice facility. Before practice and after practice, that series [2012 Eastern Conference Finals] is playing over and over on the television. We start off the season against them (Oct. 30 in Miami). Obviously the road to the championship goes through the champions and that's the Miami Heat. I take it on. I take it on personally. This is just a part of me, my make up, and my character. I'm just so happy to be on a team with guys who are just as passionate as I am because that's how I play every day. You know Kevin Garnett is probably the most passionate guy I've ever been around. I've only been around a month and a-half, but he plays the way I do.
As the sixth man on this team, I definitely bring that energy and ability to make shots right now. I don't need a warm up. When I come into in the game, I'm ready to go. I'm going to give you all I have. This team is a mix of veterans and new guys. I'm one of the veterans. I'm definitely a spiritual and emotional leader. Not only for the guys off the bench, but for the entire team. I am a champion. I've won one like Pierce, KG and Rondo have. So I give us that experience too.
Now that I'm in Boston, I want to experience everything I can. My sole focus though is I want to win it all, that's it. Other than that, I want to continue to give the fans as much love as they give us. Being out in Boston, this is probably the greatest sports town I've ever been in. Don't get me wrong, Dallas was great. They're right there too. But my first week and a half in Boston, I knew that this was a sports town. Everywhere I went I was welcomed to Boston. Whether I was at a Patriots game or a Red Sox game or eating in the North End with my family, they welcomed me like I was already a Celtic. I want to experience this city. I went to Fenway to talk to people about how to learn the Boston accent. I want to go to Cape Cod to check that out. I know there is plenty for me to do. Where do you think I should go? If you have suggestions feel free to leave me a comment.