Curtis Terry, Jason's Brother, Hopes to Make Name for Himself
Uh, check that. Presenting Curtis Terry.
Such a situation is understandable. Throughout much of Curtis Terry's life, his last name is the one people really have noticed.
"It's been real tough on him,'' Jason Terry, the Dallas Mavericks guard said of Curtis, who is his half brother. "Everywhere he goes, people come in and shake hands and say not, 'How you doing, Curtis Terry?' but 'How you doing, Jason Terry's brother?'' '
Curtis long has played in the shadow of his famous sibling, and some might think he's now even more in his shadow. After being selected in the seventh round of last Monday's NBA D-League Draft, the guard will play for the Legends in Frisco, Texas, a Dallas suburb 20 miles north of where Jason works at American Airlines Center.
But that's hardly the way Curtis looks at it. For starters, he's always been thrilled to be Jason's half brother. And you better believe he's excited to be joining him as a pro athlete in the Metroplex.
"Not for me,'' Curtis, 25, said when asked if there's been pressure trying to follow in the footsteps of Jason, 33. "I've been facing it my whole life. When he was in Seattle, he won back-to-back state titles (at Franklin High School) and then he won a national championship at Arizona (in 1997). If I'm even compared to him, I must be doing something good in my own right.
"I look at it as a positive that I've got somebody I can talk to who plays the same position. ... I've got a chance to play now in Texas where my brother lives right down the street, and my dad is in the area. I won't feel like I'm away from home.''
Jason, who said he was "really excited'' when Curtis landed with the Legends, lives with his wife Johniika and their four children in Frisco just five minutes from where the team will play at Dr Pepper Arena. The father of the two guards, Curtis Terry Sr., moved to Dallas after he retired in 2005 from his building maintenance job in Tacoma, Wash.
Terry Sr., who lives not far from American AirlinesCenter, is used to knowing he'll attend 41 home regular-season games a season with the Mavericks plus playoff games. Now, he'll be seeing a heck of a lot more basketball.
"I've been blessed to have two kids now that are playing here,'' Terry Sr. "If they play on the same night, if the Mavs have a big game, I'll go to that one. But if not I can see the Legends.''
The Legends, who are the D-League affiliate of Dallas and are co-owned by Mavericks general manager Donnie Nelson, have conflicting home games with Dallas twice this season. That's Jan. 8 against Orlando and March 12 against the Lakers.
Sorry, Curtis. Pops no doubt will be choosing Jason's Mavericks both nights.
Jason's mother is Andrea Cheatham, whom Terry Sr. never married. Curtis' mother is Patricia Noble, married to Terry Sr. for 18 years before they were divorced.
Growing up, Jason lived with his mother in Seattle and Curtis with his two parents in Tacoma, where he would attend Curtis High School. But the two saw each other every weekend before Jason left for Arizona in 1995.
"We're real close,'' said Jason, the 2008-09 NBA Sixth Man Award winner who has a 16.2 scoring average over 12 NBA seasons. "Actually, at the end of my sophomore year (of high school) I moved in with them (for about two months). So we spent a lot of time together. ... The relationship and that bond has always been tight.''
The two go bowling, play golf or simply hang out when they see each other. And, yes, they play basketball.
After years of trying, a big day came three years ago. Curtis finally beat Jason in a game of one-on-one.
"I swallowed my pride and I didn't take it too well,'' Jason said. "But I just tipped my hat to him.''
Curtis now says he beats Jason about half the time in games. The 6-foot-2 Jason doesn't disagree, saying the 6-5 Curtis takes the ball inside against him.
But if Curtis can beat Jason in one-on-one that frequently, shouldn't he be a candidate for the NBA? Curtis did average 11.1 points and 4.8 assists as a UNLV senior in 2007-08 before playing in the D-League in 2008-09 and in Angola last season.
"Obviously, it would be a dream for any player to play in the NBA and for me to play with him on the Mavericks, that would be the ultimate goal,'' said Curtis, whose thoughts are echoed by Jason. "But even to play against him (in the NBA) would. I've got to do the right things and hopefully things will go my way and then this year or next year or down the road I will have a chance to be called up.''
After being undrafted by the NBA in 2008, Curtis had workouts in the summer of 2008 with Dallas, Phoenix, Cleveland and Seattle before he moved to Oklahoma City. He said an ankle injury that summer hampered his chances, but that he's now fully healthy and much improved from when he averaged just 3.1 points in 16 games with the D-League's Los Angeles D-Fenders two years ago.
Like Jason, Curtis, who impressed Legends officials at an open tryout camp in September, plays both guard spots. He says he's more comfortable at the point. While the 205-pound Curtis has 30 pounds on Jason, he lacks his quickness and tremendous shooting ability.
"I wish he had more of Jason's work ethic,'' Terry Sr. said of comparing Curtis to Jason, who has a relentless training regimen. "But I leave him alone on that. Whenever I talk to him about that, he goes, 'I'm not Jason.' Jason is self-motivated. But he'll get on Curtis and push him a little.''
He sure will. Jason says he's going to get to as many Legends games as he can.
"I'll get me a skybox,'' he said. "I don't know if they got any, but, if they do, I'll get one. I'm going to ride him just like I do in our offseason workouts. I'm on him just because he's a good player. ... It's just on his decision making and his mechanics. I'm like his individual coach. ... But I'll stroke him a little, too.''
That will happen if Curtis has a big game for the Legends. And just maybe then a fan will approach Jason and say, "How you doing, Curtis Terry's brother?''
Chris Tomasson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @christomasson