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The Many Rituals Of Nets Guard Jason Terry

Perhaps forgotten within the trade sending Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to Brooklyn, was the third player included in that deal, Jason Terry. Terry struggled in Boston last season, but he’s getting another fresh start, even if he continues to perform the same rituals before, during and after every game.

The only player that rivals Terry when it comes to his superstitions, is probably former Boston teammate Rajon Rondo. But Terry’s ceremonial offerings to the NBA Gods extend beyond the court too, similar to Ray Allen‘s OCD ticks.

Terry’s quirks all started in college, he told the New York Times‘ Andrew Keh:

But [Terry’s] winning attitude began, really, during his college years at Arizona, where he won the 1997 national championship. It is no coincidence that the rituals and superstitions began then, too. Sleeping in basketball shorts, for instance, started the night before the championship game against Kentucky. He and Mike Bibby, his roommate, were so amped up to play that they could not fall asleep.

“We were like: ‘Let’s just get ready for this game. Let’s get the uniform on. We’re going to be ready,’ ” Terry said, imitating their youthful aggression. “And we got to the game and ended up winning, so it’s something I kept doing.”

Terry said most of his superstitions were only half serious. Over time, he switched from wearing his own uniform to wearing his next opponent’s shorts. He said he grew bored wearing his own stuff and wanted to keep himself entertained. His wife, he said, has been less amused. “She’s like, ‘You still got the game shorts on? Really?’ ” he said.

That isn’t all. Terry used to eat chicken fingers before every game after doing so during the Wildcats run to the NCAA title. But after his metabolism slowed down with age, he switched to a healthier chicken diet:

He has made other subtle changes over time, too. During the national championship run at Arizona, he ate chicken fingers before every game. But as he continued as a professional, his age and metabolism necessitated a move away from fried foods. He eats grilled or rotisserie chicken now, maintaining the old rituals’ spirit.

“I can’t deviate from chicken,” Terry said. “It has to be chicken.”

Terry’s rituals extend to games, too. He blames his 0-for-9 shooting performance in a first-round game for Arizona in 1998 on the absence of his normal socks. And while Terry mimics an airplane taking off after hitting a big shot, he also insists on changing his sneakers if he misses consecutive shots in the first quarter.

“I’m from Seattle, where we say, ‘Blame it on the rain,’ ” Terry said. “You got to blame it on something. Once I’ve got the right shoes on, I’m right back out there and ready for action, baby.”

Jason Terry is “a different dude,” he claims, and “my daughters believe I’m a weirdo,” but the 36-year-old guard was finally cleared to practice this past Saturday. You can be sure he’ll be showing off his airplane moves on Barclays’ Herringbone court; although, he might start wearing a herringbone style socks now, too.

[New York Times]

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