words // Zac Dubasik
images // Katrin Auch for Activision
NBA Titles aren’t the only thing Jason Terry is winning this summer. As of yesterday, he can call himself a Call of Duty champion as well. To help launch Call of Duty: Black Ops Annihilation, Activation’s newest map pack, Terry and Rudy Gay went at it in a Grudge Match. The downloadable content, available now, features four new maps including “Hanger 18,” “Drive-In,” “Silo,” and “Hazard,” as well as the zombie-based “Shangri-La” experience. Prior to Terry taking a 4-2 Grudge Match victory, I had a chance to talk to the two NBA stars about gaming, kicks and how they’ll spend their offseasons.
Zac: How long have each of you been playing videogames?
RG: Man, since Tecmo Bowl back in the day, [laughs] and Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! I’ve been playing since then.
JT: Well, you know, I’m just a little older, so I’ve been playing back sinceColecoVision. [laughs] I’m a throwback. Rudy mentioned one of my all-time greatest games with Tecmo Bowl. And then Mike Tyson’s Punch-Out!! too is a classic. Besides that, I had your usual, Pacman and Space Invaders, but Tecmo Bowl is an all-time great.
Do you get to play much now?
RG: I don’t have much time on my hands during the season, but that’s one way we can really get our minds off practice and games, when we aren’t watching tape.
JT: I play all the time. I’ve got video games at my locker, at the gym, and I’m playing all the time.
How log have you each been playing Call of Duty?
RG: Since the first one. I always liked the competitiveness of the game. I always try to beat the game before I go online, to get my skills right. [laughs]
Moving on to some hoops stuff, Rudy, I watched pretty much all of the Grizzlies games this past playoffs, and I saw you there cheering them on. Was it hard to watch from the sidelines, when they were surprising everyone, and doing so well?
RG: It really didn’t matter at all. What mattered was if they were playing well or not. It was just the fact that I wasn’t on the court. I like to see my teammates do well. I’ve been there when we were struggling to win 20 games. So, for me to go down right before the playoffs, it really was tough.
Where are you at now with your rehab?
RG: It’s a slow process, but I’m definitely on target to be playing full-contact by October.
With a possible lockout, and the possibility if not being around the team, do you think that will make your rehab process harder?
RG: Not really. I think if anything – I don’t want to say it would help me, because obviously I want to play – but it might give me a little more time. But I’d love to be out there with the guys honestly. This is what we do, and we’re not trying to sit out. We want to play. I’m going to stay motivated with my rehab, and I’m going to get out there and try to be the best person I can be whenever we do start.
Looking forward to next season, and seeing how well the Grizz played when you were out, do you feel some additional pressure to help the team succeed with you back?
RG: To an extent, yeah. But every player on the court has a little pressure. Everybody has to play with a little bit of pressure to do their job. It’s nothing new.
The Grizzlies had a pretty interesting pick in the Draft this year. Josh Selby was one of the most talked about players coming out of high school last year, and he ended up dropping and being picked 49th. Could you talk about the opportunity he has coming he has, and what it’s going to be like helping him develop?
RG: He’s actually from my hometown, of Baltimore. It’s good to see another hometown guy get drafted, and also good to play with a hometown guy. Like you said, he was one of the most talked-about players coming out of high school, and now I get to see first hand his progress to turn into an NBA player.
Jason, you’ve been in the League for over a decade now. Was there ever a time where you thought winning a title might now happen, especially after having one chance already?
JT: For me, I’ve always had strong faith. And as long as I’m playing, and as long as I’m on a team that’s a contender, I feel we have a realistic opportunity to try to win a championship. So, in my preparation, knowing that one day, if we continue to work, that we would get back to have a chance to win it, I knew I wanted to take full advantage of it, and be ready for the moment. I’m very glad, and very blessed to have that second opportunity. It really doesn’t come often. A lot of guys don’t get one opportunity, let alone two. So, I’m glad we were able to get it done this time.
Now that you are a few weeks removed from the Finals, have things had a chance to set it yet? Was winning the Title everything you’d hoped it would be?
JT: For me, I’ve completed the big trifecta: high school, college, and now the pros. College was crazy, because you are young, and it meant everything at the time. I think this time, winning as an NBA player, it was more of a sigh of relief than anything. A big monkey was let off our backs, so to speak. It really hasn’t set in. Maybe when we get that ring, or maybe when we meet the president it will. But for me, I’m just taking it day by day; I’m really enjoying it. But again, it really hasn’t set in all the way.
Now that you’ve won a title, and especially with a possible locking coming next season, is it going to be hard to get motivated and in shape for next season?
JT: Not at all. You’ve got to remember, the age of our team – the core group of guys – we like the rest. We’d hate for there to be a lockout, because we want to play. But if it goes into December or Janurary, hey, we might be the favorite again.
One big thing you’ve been involved with since the Finals ended was auctioning your Game 6 shoes. Could you talk about how you decided to do that?
JT: Reebok came to me. We have a great shoe with the Zig, and they wanted to give the fans a piece of history. Me, I’m very superstitious, so it was hard for me to do it. But when they said the proceeds would be going to my [the Jason Terry Foundation], which we do great things with in the community, I thought it would be a great cause, and also a great opportunity to give back to the fans. The auction did great, we made over $13,000, and the money is going to go to a great cause.
Reebok really came back strong this year with the Zig line. Could you talk about what it was like to wear them, and be part of their resurgence?
JT: For years growing up, I was a Nike guy. I loved the Air Maxes, especially in my offseason workouts and training. But once I put on the Zig technology, I instantly said, “These are the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever worn,” as far as going out and training in. And then I put on the basketball shoe, and it performed even greater. It’s a great company, and I love being with them, and the shoe is even better.
You talked about being a superstitious guy, and how it was a little bit tough to give up that pair. Do you have any other pairs of sneakers in the past that you did hold on to because of a special moment that happened in them?
JT: Oh yeah. The nine 3s I hit on LA, the NBA record. They are already up in my trophy case. Again, I’m superstitious, and I love my shoes. I’m real particular about my shoes. I usually go through about two pairs every other game. Shoes are everything. Your feet are what makes everything work.
Rudy, you wear a lot of different shoes on court. What have you been wearing off-court and while you’ve been rehabbing?
RG: Other than on the court, I don’t wear a lot of basketball shoes. I’ve been wearing the new Air Max 360s. I wear a lot of those. They are comfortable to me, so that’s what I do my rehab and weightlifting in.
You wore a lot of Hyperfuses last season. What made you like that shoe so much on-court?
RG: They are one of the lightest shoes out there with their technology. Every time Nike comes to me with a new shoe to wear, there’s never been something that I wouldn’t want to wear on the court. The Hyperfuse just fell right into place.
Have either of you guys thought about what you might do if there were to be an extended lockout next season?
JT: If there’s a lockout, we’re gonna sit at home and play Call of Duty: Black Ops. [everyone laughs] For 24 hours straight.
RG: He can do that. He’s a vet. I’m still young. I’ve gotta work out! [laughs]