NBA contest winner shares her good fortune

Gussie Brister

Credit: Courtesy

Miami Heat season ticket-holder Gussie Brister won tickets to Game 3 in Dallas.

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by SHON GABLES

Bio | Email | Follow: @shongables

WFAA

Posted on June 5, 2011 at 5:54 PM

Updated Sunday, Jun 5 at 10:03 PM

DALLAS — A contest sponsored by American Airlines has united two NBA fans from Miami for an all expense-paid trip to Dallas.

The experience marks a special milestone for a very unlikely friendship.

It began when 79-year-old Gussie Brister was plucked from a crowd of almost 20,000 fans at American Airlines Arena in Miami.

"I wanted to know how... and why me?" she asked.

During Game 2 of the NBA Finals in Miami, Brister won two tickets to Game 3 and the trip to Dallas. But instead of bringing family, she did something radical... and extremely generous.

Brister invited Aneisha Johnson, the Miami Heat saleswoman who sold her season tickets, saying that good customer service should be rewarded.

"That's why I brought her on the trip, Brister said, "I could take one person on the trip, so I picked her!"

The unlikely friendship began three years ago, after Brister's daughter died and her son left for the military.

Brister gushed when speaking of Johnson. "She's a good friend and she reminds me a lot of my daughter."

And like most parent-child relationships, they laugh, they bicker, and they debate over what to wear to the game.

Standing tall and impressed with her clothing choices, Brister blushed. "Catch me tonight," she suggested.

While Johnson is dressing down, Brister planned to wear an all-white suit.

It's not often that a woman who is retired and on a fixed income can enjoy such luxuries.

"I couldn't go to sleep this morning for looking at Dallas," Brister said. "All the high buildings and the pretty greenery... it's gorgeous!"

But she says watching the NBA Finals, in person with her best friend, is priceless, and Johnson agrees.

"Total treat today," she said. "Total treat!"

E-mail sgables@wfaa.com

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