-- Actor, singer and trendsetter Common said basketball, even professional basketball, runs in his blood.
"My father [Lonnie Lynn] played in the ABA for some years and I love it," he told ABC News in promoting the return of the NBA season.
In fact, Common is, in essence, the voice of the NBA, with a heart-pumping video that was just released by the league and narrated by the rapper called "Roll Call."
"Growing up in Chicago ... being around basketball for the recreation and fun, then it became a passion," he said. "It was a dream of mien to actually play in the pros. That dream never got fulfilled, except in the movie "Just Wright." But I love basketball, it's one of the things I enjoy doing the most and one of the things I look forward to watching."
Even though he's a Chicago boy, Common said he cheers on all his favorite players, not just one team -- to the chagrin of some local fans.
"I am a player's fan, I love LeBron, I love Dwyane Wade. I really like Kevin Durant and I love Derick Rose," he said. "People from Chicago are upset with me, they are like 'You are not a die hard Bulls fan.' The truth is, I am definitely going to cheer for the Bulls, I also cheer for LeBron. I have no allegiance to one team. This year, probably my gut is going with Cleveland, I like Cleveland and I love LeBron James."
As Common, 42, has become this iconic artist, he's gotten to meet and befriend these superstars he still admires.
"You have an admiration and respect for these players, you wish you could do the things they do," he said. "Obviously we hear some athletes also wanted to be entertainers, the whole aura of what the entertainer brings. So, it's a mutual respect ... D-Wade is someone I would call a friend and I attended his wedding. LeBron, I had a good conversation with him, even at the wedding. I was flying back from the wedding on the plane with Chris Paul, then hung out with him the next day. So, I have been in the mix. You still hold those players up as talented, incredible human beings, but it is nice to get to know some of them."
One player Common has gotten to meet that is incredibly special to him is the legendary Michael Jordan.
"I was a ball boy for the Chicago Bulls when I was 12 years old," he said. "I was there when Michael Jordan first started. I had interactions with different players, but it's a different perspective when you are a ball boy than when you are an artist ... He actually came to a show of mine when I was performing at the House of Blues in Chicago and Michael was there in the balcony. Someone had told him I was a ball boy ... he gave me love."
In fact, Jordan gave Common a gift years ago that still remains in his family to this day.
"I actually got a pair of Jordans that I gave to my father, my father passed this past September, but he had a pair of Jordans I'd given him straight from Mike," Common said. "Mike had signed them and he kept them. I remember my father was wearing them one time and I said, 'Don't be wearing them, he wore them.'"
The day he was able to give his father those iconic shoes, Common said was a "special day."
"That was straight off Michael's feet," he said. "It's legendary ... He actually passed them on to his daughter, my sister. It's something man because to think the shoes went from Michael Jordan to Common to my father, now family."
Even though Common is a star now, Jordan is not afraid to talk some trash.
"He saw me playing in the celebrity game and I walked past him and he said, 'You need to stick to acting,'" he said. "Mike don't give you no leeway."