DALLAS Jason Eugene Terry will be back at American Airlines Center Friday night for the first time since he left the Dallas Mavericks last summer to sign a three-year, $15.675 million free agent contract with the Boston Celtics.And theres at least four overzealous Mavericks fans who hope the Jet will receive the royal treatment from the sellout crowd thatll be on hand when Dallas (32-36) faces the Celtics (36-31) at 7:30 p.m."I hope they give him a standing ovation, owner Mark Cuban said. "He deserves it."Hell be a Maverick for life. Hes part of the family.Terry played for the Mavericks from 2004 until last summer when he and Cuban couldnt agree on a contract that would have kept him in Dallas for what he wanted to be the remainder of his career. Still, the two have remained friends as Cuban has already said he plans to retire Terrys No. 31 jersey and hang it in the AAC rafters once he retires."I keep in touch with Jet some because our families developed a closeness because our daughters were in the same class together in school, coach Rick Carlisle said. "Hes Mavericks royalty -- thats clear."Hes one of the most beloved players, I think, in the history of this franchise because of his personality, his relationship with the fans and the community, and he was a great player, and he was a prime-time great player in the clutch. Guys like that always distinguish themselves, so itll be emotional Im sure for him and Im sure for the fans and for some of us that got to know him well.Terry never wanted to leave the Mavericks, and tried to the bitter end to receive a suitable contract to remain in Dallas."They wanted to go in a different direction -- that's part of the business, Terry said. "Youre not always going to like it, but it is what it is."I had a great time in Dallas, and I still have a lot of friends and people I care about there, both in the city and within the organization. But that's part of my past.Cuban also has promised Terry a job within the Mavericks organization once his playing days are over."Basketball is a short part of your life, and then theres the rest of your life, Cuban said. "Hopefully, well be part of Jets (life) after he retires.Terry worked his way into the good graces of the Mavericks and became one of the teams pop stars in 2006 when he was the first point guard to lead the Mavericks to the NBA Finals. Terrys popularity reached a crescendo in 2011 when he was a valuable piece off the bench to the Mavericks championship puzzle."On and off the floor he was a great ambassador for the city, always busy in the community every day, forward Dirk Nowitzki said. "And on the floor we all know what he meant to us."One of the best clutch shooters Ive played with. Obviously he was a big reason why we won the championship a couple of years ago, and he deserves a big ovation.Forward Shawn Marion is in complete agreement with Nowitzki, Carlisle and Cuban."It should be a great standing ovation for him, Marion said. "He played a big part in us winning the championship, and weve got a bond together for life."They know that here in the valley, and thats all that matters.Marion cant wait to see Terry flash that championship smile tonight. The only lingering question is whether or not some tears will be shed."He didnt leave here with any problems, Marion said of Terry. "Its just happened that he wasnt able to extend his deal here and he went to Boston and started a new career."But at the same time hes got a piece of that championship banner in there, so thats all I need to say. Marion will play FridayForward Shawn Marion will play Friday night after missing the past eight games with a strained left calf."I still feel it a little bit, but its not enough to hold me back, Marion said. "Doing all that cardio on the side is not fun."My wind doesnt feel bad right now. Im good at telling coach Im tired, bring me out.The Mavericks were 5-3 during Marions absence.
Dwain Price, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @dwainprice