Dallas Mavericks

Key to the NBA Finals: Dallas' Own Chris Boshketball

Dirk Nowitzki and LeBron James are the two best active NBA players without a ring.

Jason Terry has a tattoo of the Larry O'Brien trophy on his right arm.

Dwyane Wade is trying to depress Dallas. Again.

Jason Kidd is the oldest point guard (38) in NBA Finals history.

It's revenge, redemption and America's newest Team vs. Miami Thrice.

As the NBA Finals commence tonight in Miami, there are as many intriguing story lines as breathtaking waterfront views.

But what about Miami's third amigo? What about Chris Bosh? Yeah, the kid from the mean streets of South Dallas.

While the Mavs were suffering from their Finals collapse to the Heat five summers ago, Bosh was busy helping restore the courts he grew up on. I was fortunate enough to document his good deeds in a 2006 Dallas Observer cover story.

Like they did most summer Saturday mornings in 1992, Noel Bosh and his 8-year-old son, Chris, made the short drive from Lancaster up to the junction of Southeast Oak Cliff and Hoops Heaven, better known as the John C. Phelps Recreation Center. Shaped peculiarly like an hour glass and sporting two dunk-damaged rims that wouldn't pass YMCA--much less NBA--inspection, the old outdoor court was cement, gray, unforgiving, ugly...

And perfect for a wide-eyed kid falling in love with basketball. And for a Dad intent on bonding and bouncing with his kid. They played one-on-one. They laughed. They fouled. They sweated. They swished.

Recalls Noel, "Some of the best memories of my life."

Until the bitches showed up, that is.

Bosh overcame the thugs, drugs and temptations to star at Dallas' Lincoln High School. Now he'll be the initial defender on Nowitzki as his new team tries to beat his old hometown.

Weird how sports works.