TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - You may know Jason Terry as an assistant coach at the University of Arizona’s or maybe an NBA and NCAA champion.
To five of his favorite people, he’s simply dad.
“I wanted to be like my dad of course, high socks, shorts were way too big, jersey oversized, just a mess but just wanted to be like my daddy,” said Jasionna Terry, Jason’s oldest daughter.
When she was in fourth grade, she started playing basketball in a recreational league in Atlanta. Three years later, Jason made his coaching debut while still playing in the NBA.
“They started getting real good,” said Jason Terry. “Now I don’t know if it was my coaching or if it was because they were really working that hard, but I like to say it was both.”
That inspired Jason to start The Lady Jets, a AAU team based in Dallas.
“For me it was just an experience where I could spend more time with my kid in the offseason,” Terry said.
Over the years, the program has expanded to other states, but since the first day, Jason has followed one rule.
“We don’t like to deny anybody an opportunity to to participate because of financial reasons,” Terry said.
Between his nonprofit and money out of his own pocket, Terry has spent nearly $2 million over the past 10 years to make sure playing basketball was never a burden.
“He has the biggest heart out of anybody I’ve ever met,” Jasionna said.
His NBA career spanned almost two decades across five states and six teams. His family didn’t always move to the city he was traded to, but he never let the distance get in the way.
“Anytime he had more than two days off and no practice he’d come fly into town,” Jasionna said. “He’s always there no matter what.”
Terry made sure his girls knew they came first.
“The dad-daughter relationship is one that is very special,” Jason Terry said. “It’s one that you have to foster not only are you a dad you’re a friend, you’re a confidant, you are a caretaker, you are a protector.”
“He would be at every single event -- volleyball, soccer and prom,” Jasionna said. “At volleyball, he would be line judge because he needed to make a spectacle and act like he knows what he’s doing and had no idea ... he’s the definition of a girl dad.”
“He can go from serious to goofy in a second and everybody loves it. It’s just always exciting,” she said.
Jasionna also has a piece of advice for Wildcats playing under her dad right now.
“He knows what he’s talking about,” she said. “I didn’t think he did, but he really does know what he’s talking about. He’s been in the game a really long time.”