While spending some time with his oldest son, Tajh, in Los Angeles a few weeks ago, Trevor Ariza was startled by a question that required both a response and an explanation.

“How come you didn’t name me Trevor?” Tajh, 6, asked his father.

Ariza was planning to share the story with his son, waiting for a time when Tajh would fully understand what the name meant and why it will always serve as an inspiration. Whether or not Ariza felt Tajh was ready, the opportunity had arrived.

“I told him, ‘Because I named you after a better person,’ ” Ariza recalled, his eyes welling up. “I told him, ‘I named you after my brother, who was the best person I ever met in my life.’ ”

Ariza, 28, endeared himself to Washington Wizards fans — and reintroduced himself to many who lost track of him after he won a championship with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2009 — when he tied a franchise playoff record with six three-pointers and scored a playoff career-high 30 points on April 27 in Game 4 of the team’s first-round series against the Chicago Bulls. The breakthrough performance, which finally brought his mostly overshadowed contributions to the forefront, helped the Wizards reach the second round of the NBA playoffs for the first time since 2005.

But the moment that defines Ariza’s life occurred 18 years ago on another continent. Ariza, then 10, was in Caracas, Venezuela, where his stepfather Kenny McClary was making his latest stop as a professional basketball player.