Jason Terry: Time to finish the job

DALLAS -- Guard Jason Terry was so confident the Dallas Mavericks would reach the NBA Finals this season, he had it printed.

In ink. On his body. Before the start of the 2010-11 regular season.

On Oct. 19, 2010 -- a day before a preseason game against the Orlando Magic -- guard DeShawn Stevenson had a get-together for his Mavericks teammates at his house.

Stevenson, who has an offseason home in Orlando, brought his chef and his personal tattoo artist for the players. It was a team-building exercise.

Stevenson's chest, neck and arms are covered with tattoos. He even has a few facial tattoos and two piercings in his chest. But despite all of his tattoos, what he saw teammate Jason Terry do was mind-boggling at the time.

Terry got one placed on his right biceps of the Larry O'Brien Trophy, given to the winner of the NBA championship.

"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 story came up Wednesday night following the Mavericks' 100-96 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder that clinched the Western Conference finals 4-1.

Dallas is headed to its second NBA Finals appearance in franchise history.

In a way, Terry had a feeling this team was destined to play for the championship.

"Everybody laughed and they thought it was a joke at the time," said Terry, who along with Dirk Nowitzki are the only remaining players from the Mavs' 2006 Finals loss to the Miami Heat. "When they actually see me get it, they were like, 'This boy is serious.' And our whole talk and conversation was about right now, about us getting to this point and winning it all."

The Mavericks are four victories away from a title and are awaiting the winner of the Eastern Conference finals between Chicago and Miami.

And that tattoo on Terry's arm is looking like a good decision now.

"The whole makeup, the chemistry, just all together, all the stars have to line up for you to win it," Terry said. "They're in place right now. It's just on us to go out and finish the job."

Calvin Watkins covers the Mavericks for ESPNDallas.com.