The Reinvention of Chris Bosh

On the table are his MacBook Air, his iPhone 5 and a sweating pint glass filled with a dark microbrew. This month's batch is Abita Turbodog, which he picked up while in New Orleans. He ordered a keg after a preseason game and the brew has been on tap in his kitchen ever since.

"This is the good stuff," Bosh says.

It is an off day for the Heat as the 2013-14 season enters its final stretch. It is 85 degrees outside Bosh's waterfront home, and his gray denim short-sleeved shirt is dotted with sweat at his sides. The denim is winning.

The Georgia Tech product is unwinding with some computer code, teaching me the basics of HTML computer language.

"Let's say you want to put a rectangle on the screen," Bosh says. "Type in R-E-C-T. Then open parentheses. X-axis, y-axis, width and height. Don't forget the close parentheses."

Bosh smacks the return button on his keyboard with his right pinkie.

"Boom. Rectangle."

He wipes the sweat off his forehead and types out a fresh line. Earlier this year, Bosh appeared alongside Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg in a PSA for code.org, encouraging students to learn code. He also wrote an op-ed for Wired.com to promote coding as the language of the future.

"I'm trying to learn JavaScript," Bosh says. "I learned HTML in high school and then graduated to CSS. It's a great way to exercise my mind. But it's frustrating as hell."

At Lincoln High School in Dallas, there were only two gyms for six basketball teams, which meant Bosh's varsity practice wouldn't start until 5:30 p.m., an hour and 45 minutes after school let out. Every day before practice, the All-State big man would sneak out to a computer graphics club called "Whiz Kids" for an hour, learning to code and discovering the tricks of Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. His teammates knew he liked playing around with computers, but Whiz Kids? That was kept a secret.

"It was so funny because I was in both worlds," Bosh says. "That's back when everybody wasn't using Macs. We had the zip drives and everything."

Digital networks just made sense. His mother was a longtime employee at Texas Instruments. His father made a living as a plumbing engineer. He got serious about computer graphics in high school because of the girl he hung out with after class. As Bosh left for practice, she'd skip off to her job designing album covers for local rappers. Her Photoshop skills lured Bosh to join Whiz Kids.

His senior year, when he was a McDonald's All American, he joined the Association of Minority Engineers and NSBE (National Society of Black Engineers). Though he was already a National Honor Society member, his calculus teacher pushed him to broaden his academic horizons.

The double life he was leading caught up to him one Saturday morning. His school took part in a statewide competition that his teacher urged him to attend. One of the events called for drawing and measuring a robot using AutoCAD, the engineering standard in design software.

He knew AutoCAD. His father spent most of his days working in AutoCAD and Bosh picked it up as a kid, "just from fooling around with it." So Bosh agreed to participate even though it required a 6 a.m. wake-up call and a trek up to North Dallas.

Bosh had AAU practice later that morning. He arranged for his AAU coach to pick him up at the event under one condition: call from the parking lot and Bosh would meet him outside. Do not walk in.

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