TORONTO — Boston Celtics guard Terry Rozier has a new tattoo on the back of his head.
The ink, which is his second-to-newest tattoo, reads “3:17.” He said it references his birthday, along with several other things.
“Every time I look at the clock, it’s 3:17,” he said, prior to Celtics shoot-around on Friday. “I always catch 3:17 on the clock, upside-down 3:17 is a lie. That’s what kind of world we live in: A big lie. And then you always can use the Bible verse, so I can say multiple things about it. But it’s mainly for my birthday.”
Asked to elaborate on the “lie” part (to clarify, see the tweet embedded below), Rozier was somewhat cryptic.
“I’m just talking about the world we’re living in,” Rozier said. “It’s a crazy, crazy world. We’re not told the truth of what’s really going on. I don’t really want to get into it.”
[?] [?] pic.twitter.com/pychhxrGh8
— Tom Westerholm (@Tom_NBA) October 18, 2018
Rozier’s tattoo is almost certainly not in reference to the rumors that swirled around the rookie-contract extension negotiations with the Celtics prior to the season. But his feelings about those rumors are a pretty natural segue into his tattoo. Rozier said his first experience with questions about his contract left him relieved to be done (for now).
“Man it feels so good,” Rozier said. “First of all, if everyone could leave that damn contract extension stuff alone, everybody’s trying to make it seem like ‘I’m back, I want $20 million.’ Just to see that all the time, what the hell y’all talking about, you don’t know what y’all talking about. But I’m just glad to get it going, excited the season started. It just feels good that I can focus on basketball and do it with the people I care about, my brothers, and just have fun.”
Prior to this season, Rozier had seen other players go through these types of questions. Isaiah Thomas publicly lobbied for a Brinks truck. Marcus Smart was hounded and went through a relatively contentious rookie-contract negotiation as well.
But for Rozier, living through the experience was a lot different.
“It was something that you see happen before you, it was something you know about but you don’t really know until you witness it. It’s kind of like, it’s all just like a business, and for you to actually be a part of it, it’s like dang, this happened so fast. But at the end of the day, it’s all going to work out the right way.”
Rozier will face the questions again, if only during his exit interviews after the season. He will be a restricted free agent after this year, meaning his options are limited: Sign an offer sheet with another team and wait to see if the Celtics will match, or take his qualifying offer and bet on himself in unrestricted free agency in 2020.
But until then, Rozier just gets to play basketball.
“One thing about Terry is you don’t have to worry about him competing, you don’t have to worry about him working,” Brad Stevens said, earlier in the preseason. “He always has worked, he’s always competed. He’s got a great mindset. He’s got a great team attitude. Every time I’ve seen him all summer he’s been all smiles. … I think everybody everywhere knows Terry can really play.”