The Chris Bosh Tightrope Is About To Break

In the summer of 2014, the year LeBron James went home, an euphoric Chris Bosh signed a max deal with the Miami Heat for $120 million dollars.  That singular moment for Bosh seems like a moment frozen in time, put in a capsule and tossed out to sea. Bosh has played 97 regular season games in two years because life isn’t always fair. His body blood has been doing some not nice body blood things, causing clots that have the potential of moving through the superhighway of Bosh’s tissued flesh, to the heart and brain, if the worst thing happens. Medicine thins the blood, dissolves the clots. Sometimes, usually but not always, you are cured forever. Sometimes, usually but not always, your athletic career is over.

The backstory of his illness was the conflict it created.  Chris Bosh wanted to play. The Miami Heat fought to keep him safe and alive. His fans despaired because he was not on the court. The Bosh extended family network suffered missed games and doctors not clearing him.

It often feels as if Bosh is either the luckiest man in the NBA or the unluckiest. Here he was, the third spoke in the Big Three wheel of Lebron and Wade, never really appreciated by outsiders who were always throwing shade, until Bosh saved the Heat from elimination with his ability to react under pressure. One rebound and a Ray Allen three kept the Heat alive for a game 7 where they beat the Spurs and Bosh has the ring to show for it. As good as it is to be in South Beach and to be a champion, the reality is that Bosh has to hear the chatter, specifically, he wouldn’t have any of his rings if it wasn’t for LeBron James.

That is why the max deal was so important. LeBron was gone. Now it was Bosh’s turn. Finally. He could revert back to his Toronto days when he was a 20-10 player and the only question was, are you going to leave us?

But life is funny and strange. When you think you have everything you wanted, a curve ball hits you in the face. Last year, the blood clots were life threatening but were caught at the last minute. This year, in the calf, they were not life threatening but still dangerous. Internists will tell you, one clot is a freak of nature. Two clots are your body telling you something. Three clots are a pattern. Often, blood thinning medicine is prescribed for the rest of your life.

Now Chris Bosh has failed his physical and his future is up in the air. Pragmatists will say his career is over. Optimists will look at it as one more hurdle in a series of hurdles post-LeBron James. But the narrative that seems closer to the truth than fiction is Chris Bosh may never grace a NBA court again.

The Heat tried their hand at anticipatory damage. Say it before it happens so the wound isn’t gushing blood everywhere.  Last month in a news conference, Pat Riley talked about Bosh’s future in pretty abstract terms, as if it was still unknown. Maybe yes. Maybe no.

I know what Chris wants. I know he wants to play. And obviously we would be open to that, but this is still a very fluid situation. It’s a sensitive, complicated situation. “

Not hard. Not fluid. And no, it’s not complicated. NBA doctors will not clear him. If he is bought out, what team would take a chance? It is eerily similar to when Eddy Curry had an irregular heartbeat and the Chicago Bulls wouldn’t clear him. He signed with the Knicks but his career was basically over.

There is no NBA team, despite Bosh’s talent, that would willingly take on a player with such serious medical complications. So where does that leave Bosh now?

Because the Heat lost Wade (they were shocked that Wade called their bluff) they had a tightrope to walk with Bosh. They needed him more than ever. But his medical situation was tenuous. No one wants his life as a bargaining tool.

The Heat are all in on the Bosh marriage the next three years at $23 mil, $25 mil and $26 mil. Bosh and his rep signed a great deal, no opt-outs. He and Miami are in this two-way love deep. Everything about the relationship is hardcore. Except today it took a twist towards a Heat separation and perhaps divorce.

If his luck changes, it is a script that has yet to be written. No one knows how this is going to end, except the Miami Heat doctors are confident Chris Bosh, and by default, the Big Three of the Miami Heat, that rock star of a team that won two titles, is finally and abruptly over.


photo via llananba