An hour before he was to present an NBA championship ring to Tyson Chandler, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was worried.

Well, sort of.

"It'll be fun," Cuban said, dripping sweat as he worked his stair climber next to the Mavericks' locker room, "but I'm afraid he'll chest-bump me so hard I'll go flying across the court. Either that or I'll bruise my sternum."

Neither happened, of course. Chandler, the Knicks center whose defense and tenacity inside made him a big part of the Mavs' run to the league title last season, merely had hugs for all — Cuban included — after he was introduced last night in a pregame ceremony as "one of the all-time legendary Maverick players," and praised by his former coach, Rick Carlisle, for his "grit, courage and toughness." That was followed by a standing ovation as Chandler held his ring aloft for the crowd to see.