Chris Bosh wasn’t supposed to be here. Conventional wisdom had Bosh complaining about the Warriors dominance, and Riles inability to lasso Gordon Hayward into the fold. But here Chris Bosh stands. He is on the outside of his professional life, his face pushed against the glass, like a stranger desperate to see in. At best, he is trying to maintain some level of optimism in the face of a strategy to exile him and then retire his jersey. As dramas go, it is not the sleep on it and everything will be better kind. No. Chris Bosh’s run with Miami, and probably the NBA, has come to a close.
Before this day, Bosh had everything to lose if the Heat were granted their wish, permanently branding Bosh as an unable to perform player; the Heat would not suffer by bringing the Bosh saga to a close. On the contrary. Though painful, the Heat can truly turn the page from the Big Three and in doing so the Heat will forfeit absolutely nothing. In fact they gain the ability to sign a max player next summer because salary cap dollars will be restored.
Expectedly, there will be the regurgitation of Miami Heat stats. 384 games for Chris Bosh. 18.0 points. 7.3 rebounds. 103 Defensive Rating. 19.5 PER. 1,163 playoff points. 566 playoff rebounds. 78 playoff games. It makes the divorce feel more like a blur, like it didn’t really happen. Assets have been divided. Everyone accepts their role and is staying in their lane. The Heat are reverential and complimentary. Bosh is generous and thoughtful.
His former teammates LeBron James and Dwyane Wade paid their respects to the third member of their group who was often overlooked and even mocked despite sacrificing. It was so easy to forget Chris Bosh was a star and franchise player in Toronto before coming to Miami.
“We will forever be indebted to CB for how he changed this team and led us to four trips to the NBA Finals and two NBA championships. He is, without a doubt, one of the greatest players in the history of the franchise.” Pat Riley.
History and Pat Riley remind us Chris Bosh is the reason the Heat won championship number two. It was Bosh’s reaction to throw the ball to Ray Allen, who made the game tying three in Game 6 and saved the Heat from despair. It propelled Bosh into legendary Heat status. That Riley can reflect on what the Heat used to be a few years ago is what happens when mediocre follows great. You just cannot let great go; the memories remind you of where you used to be.
The last year or so wasn’t pleasant for Chris Bosh, despite his heroic Heat past. He was trying to save his career and even though the likelihood of Bosh playing again is a longshot-no NBA team would ever clear him to play while he is on blood thinners- (thin blood can precipitate bleeding to death after physical contact), the fight is still important to Bosh’s integrity. When Riley publicly implied Bosh was damaged goods, it was a knife to the Chris Bosh heart and character.
No one wants their career taken away so it was normal that Bosh was fighting even if the fight was an uphill one. “My career is not done” Bosh once said, defiant on his video blog. Still, it’s hard to reconcile then and now, that the last great Miami Heat moment was the Chris Bosh rebound that led to the Ray Allen three that led to Game 7 and back-to-back titles for the Miami Heat. Riley was happy then. Bosh was happy then. The Heat had achieved iconic status as they were on the precipice of a dynasty, the cream of the NBA crop. But the hedonistic glory was short and very, very sweet. Inevitable, there was a crash.
All beautiful things do not have a happy ending. The Big Three should have done more, stayed longer, gutted out every last ounce of talent and chemistry they had. It was over too soon, that’s the bottom line if you want to tie a ribbon around all of it. Bosh’s career was ruined by bad luck. He will get his jersey in the Heat rafters but not that third title. Yes, to much is given much is expected. But, to much is given, there needs to be luck.
Bosh had it in 2013. Not so much in 2017.
photo via llananba