Print and Go Back ESPN.com: BlogsColumns [Print without images]

Saturday, February 13, 2010
All-Star Bosh towers over Dallas

By Tim MacMahon
ESPNDallas.com

DALLAS -- Chris Bosh never dreamed of a weekend like this while growing up in south Dallas.

"I don't think I could write it down any better when I was a little kid," said Bosh, the Toronto Raptors star who returned home for his fifth All-Star appearance. "I never thought the All-Star Game would come to Dallas, let alone being able to play in it. I'm just trying to take advantage of this situation and have as much fun as possible."

So are all his friends and family.

The downside of an All-Star Weekend in Dallas is "unlimited" ticket requests. And there hasn't been any home cooking. Bosh's mother has been too busy enjoying the festivities to spend any time in the kitchen.

"They have a good time while I work," said Bosh, who led Lincoln High to an undefeated season, a Class 4A state championship and a mythical national title during his senior year.

Larry Johnson
Larry Johnson averaged 16.2 points and 7.5 rebounds in 10 NBA seasons with the Charlotte Hornets and New York Knicks.

Hey, it isn't easy being arguably the best basketball player ever to come out of Dallas. Give Bosh a few more years and there won't be much of a debate.

Skyline High's Larry Johnson had long been the consensus pick as the Dallas ISD's most dominant NBA alum. Bosh, who turns 26 in March, has built quite a case for himself before even hitting his prime.

Johnson, the No. 1 overall selection in the 1991 draft, was a two-time All-Star for the Charlotte Hornets. The guy known as "Grandmama" finished a career cut short by back problems with 11,450 points and 5,300 rebounds.

Bosh, the fourth overall pick in the 2003 draft after his freshman season at Georgia Tech, is playing in his fifth consecutive All-Star Game. He already has 9,865 points and 4,612 rebounds.

And Bosh, who holds a camp in his hometown every summer, has never been better. He's averaging career bests in scoring (24.4 points per game), rebounding (11.4) and field goal percentage (.526) for the Eastern Conference's fifth-place team. He's the league's only player to rank among the top 10 scorers and rebounders.

"He's always had this knack for wanting to be better," said Leonard Bishop, Bosh's high school coach. "He asks himself over and over, 'What do I need to do?'"

One of the biggest names in this summer's star-studded free agent class, Bosh is asked over and over these days about his future plans. He has basically tabled the topic, although he's made it clear that remaining with the Raptors is certainly a possibility.

"I was just looking at what people say and it's like, 'Chris is going to go here and play with him or this, this and that,'" Bosh told ESPN The Magazine's Ric Bucher in a radio interview this week when asked about the perception that he'll join a team with either LeBron James or Dwyane Wade. "I'm like, 'Wait a minute.' I feel like I should be built around. And maybe that's just my ego talking, but I feel that I'm a very good player in this league and I'm only going to get better. So … maybe we should be getting somebody [in Toronto]."

He'll get no argument from the last power forward to be named MVP.

"He really got better from year to year," Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki said. "Now he's an instant double-double guy. He's aggressive, he can post you, he can go outside and shoot, he's athletic, can go by you and finish at the rim, great rebounder. He's got a great all-around game.

"He's a Dallas guy, so we're proud of him here."

Tim MacMahon covers the Mavericks for ESPN Dallas. You can follow him on Twitter or leave a question for his weekly mailbag.