Jason Terry, Chicken, Basketball Shorts, and High Socks…Huh?

Jason Terry

Jason TerryIf you’ve ever watched Jason Terry play basketball, you’ve probably seen his usual high-socks routine and perhaps a subtle change of shoes at halftime. What you likely didn’t know was that this man is a “weirdo” — at least, according to his daughters.

Andrew Keh of the New York Times did some investigating into what exactly Jason Eugene Terry’s — a.k.a. JET — pre-game superstitions consist of:

The night before each game, he wears the opposing team’s uniform shorts to bed, a habit that tests his wife’s patience. On game day, a few hours before tipoff, he eats a meal that involves chicken. On the court, a headband and high socks have been must-wear accessories since college. If he misses consecutive shots during the first quarter, he changes his sneakers during the next intermission.

So how did these superstitions that Terry has carried with him throughout his basketball life evolve? It all started at the University of Arizona, where he and then teammate Mike Bibby were so ready to play the night before the 1997 National Championship game, that they decided to wear their uniforms to bed that night.

“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 says that he switched to wearing his opponent’s shorts because he grew bored over time with wearing his own uniform. He drives his wife crazy with these odd rituals.

He’s made other changes over time to this routine: he used to eat chicken fingers before every game during the national championship run at Arizona, but as he got older and became a professional, he realized he needed to cut fried foods out of his diet and switched to eating rotisserie chicken before every game.

“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.”

Terry made his Brooklyn Nets debut Wednesday night, in a 101-97 loss to the Boston Celtics. It was his first game action since undergoing a knee operation this offseason. Though initially rusty, the former 6th man of the year settled in to score 7 points in just over 24 minutes of action.