The term “clutch gene” took on a life of its own over the past few years. Michael Jordan birthed it. Kobe Bryant pushed it. Skip Bayless popularized it. It became indistinguishable, something that we can’t quite grasp. No one can explain how you get it or how you improve it. It’s just out there, sitting as the ultimate when it comes to validating yourself as a player. If someone doesn’t have it, they’ll never reach the apex.
Jason Terry has it. Ever since he was a sophomore on Arizona’s 1997 National Championship team, Terry has thrived in fourth quarters. In Dallas, despite starting just once during the Mavs’ last three playoff runs, the JET has almost always come through, the ultimate late-game sniper next to Dirk Nowitzki. It’s no coincidence that his two best individual playoff runs took Dallas to the Finals.
Last year, Terry was at his very best, averaging 17.5 points and shooting 44 percent from deep while winning his first NBA championship. Along the way, he tied a playoff record with nine threes against the Lakers, and then in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, burned the Heat with a game-clinching trey. How does he consistently come through with the game hanging in the balance? We asked him.