Miami Heat basketball fans got some pretty bad news earlier today as General Manager Pat Riley announced that Chris Bosh's career was likely over due to recurring blood clots that sidelined him for much of last season.
Bosh, who was part of the Big Three along with Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, was the last remaining member of that championship-winning triumvirate - with James returning to Cleveland two years ago and Wade now back in his hometown playing for the Chicago Bulls.
Though he has been ridiculed by cynical basketball fans, some of which couldn't take two dribbles without kicking the ball out of bounds, Bosh is a surefire Hall of Famer and one of the most versatile power forwards in the history of the game.
An All-American at Lincoln High School in Dallas, Bosh would become the first freshman in the history of the Atlantic Coast Conference to lead the conference in field goal percentage since Antwan Jamison did so with North Carolina Tar Heels in 1996 . The lanky, smooth forward was hard to define, standing nearly seven feet tall while possessing the skills to attack bigger players off the dribble, post up smaller players and shoot with consistency from behind the arc.
Some derided his appearance as being similar to that of the Raptors' mascot, a predatory dinosaur. Drafted out of Georgia Tech with the fourth overall pick in the NBA draft behind LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade in 2003, Bosh would become the face of a Toronto Raptors franchise that was listing after the departure of Vince Carter.
He averaged 11.5 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game as a rookie, but would really turn it up after departure of Vinsanity. He put up 23 points, nine rebounds and three assists per game in a 2006 season that ended for him in March after an injury.
The following season he would help Toronto claim the crown in the Atlantic Division. After years of being criticized for not taking teams that were full of bad draft picks and veteran NBA castaways futther, Bosh signed to play for the Miami Heat in 2010 in order to go deep in the playoffs and earn championships. He was the Toronto Raptors all-time leader in points, rebounds and blocks upon his departure to South Beach.
The Miami Heat would make it to the championship to face the Dallas Mavericks, led by Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry and an aging Jason Kidd. Though Bosh's numbers were admirable, they would lose to the Mavs in six.
He was visibly despondent after the loss, and prognosticators speculated that head coach Erik Spoelstra was not allowing him to use the full array of his abilities, basically making him little more than a spot-up shooter in the Heat offense.
Miami would return to the NBA Finals the following season and defeat the Oklahoma City Thunder in resounding fashion despite, Bosh's scoring taking a dip well below his season average.
(Photo Credit: Sporting News)
Again, folks began running their mouths, questioning whether Bosh was a good fit offensively despite winning the c'hip. Creating spacing and driving lanes for Dwyane Wade and LeBron James with his accurate long-range jumper meant Bosh would be facing the basket and on the perimeter more often than not.
But some fans were blaming this on Bosh and not on team scheme.The following season, the Heat would reach the NBA Finals again, there third in a row, and bested the San Antonio Spurs in a seesaw, blood and guts seven-game series.
Despite the victory, Bosh's numbers would decrease yet again. But people weren't seeing how much he was sacrificing and how much of a team player he had become. Even when his shot wasn't falling, the lanky power forward with guard skills was still a stalwart defender and very capable rebounder.
But people don't like the blood and guts intangibles that are necessary to win titles. Ill-informed fans only see the box score. But true ball players knew what was up.
The Heat would return to the Finals for the last time in the Big Three era, but would lose to the revamped Spurs in five games. During the 2014-15 season, and following the departure of James, Chris Bosh would start the season off looking like the vintage version of himself in averaging 22 points, eight boards and two assists before being briefly sidelined in December 2014 with a strained calf.
Following the 2015 NBA All-Star game, he was hospitalized due to a blood clot on one of his lungs and didn't play for the rest of the season. He returned the following season and was back with the urgency of someone who'd left his wallet.
Voted to play in the 2016 NBA All-Star game, he would once again sit out and it was later revealed he had a blood clot in his leg.
Over the summer, Chris Bosh was very optimistic about returning to the game he loves. However a failed physical exam with the Heat meant he could not be cleared to participate in training camp.
Additional clotting meant the Heat had no choice but to do something that Bosh was very reluctant to do. Miami announced today that his career was over with the franchise.
Misunderstood for lacking both temperament and fire, Chris Bosh's legacy is cemented and the 32 year old undoubtedly will find himself a first ballot Hall of Famer.
Through the disrespectful banter from cable sports network talking heads, Chris has proven himself to be a great teammate, humanitarian and human being. We wish him the best.
An 11-time NBA All-Star and two-time NBA champion, Chris Bosh deserved a whole lot more respect than he actually got, but he didn't beg for your admiration.
His game spoke for itself.