Seven summers back, the Miami Heat had one of the best days in free agency history in signing four-time MVP LeBron James and perennial All-Star Chris Bosh to join Dwyane Wade in South Florida. Together, the dynamic “Big Three,” led the Heat to four consecutive Finals appearances and two straight championships in 2012 and 2013. After losing in the 2014 Finals to the San Antonio Spurs 4-1, James declined his player option and left to return to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Last summer Wade with the Heat going in a different direction returned to his hometown to sign with the Chicago Bulls. Bosh’s future unfortunately was not in his hands as medical issues cut his last two full seasons short and while the rest of the nation was celebrating, Bosh was concluding his time in South Florida.
After both sides came to a final decision on how to part ways and more than a year since his last appearance on the professional hardwood because of blood-clot issues, the Heat officially waived Bosh last Tuesday.
The move provided the Heat access to $25.3 million in salary-cap space for this coming off-season of free agency, which they used to re-sign guard Dion Waiters and James Johnson, and signed unrestricted free agency forward/center Kelly Olynyk.
Bosh, who was an 11-time All-Star still will get his salary, along with a $26.8 million for this upcoming season, and in theory could continue his career-if he can be medically cleared one of the other 29 teams to resume his career. It is unknown if that will take place.
This though gives the Heat much needed closure on the era of Bosh, and the team announced that when he does conclude his career that they will hang his No. 1 jersey in the rafters of American Airlines Arena.
“Chris changed his life and basketball career when he came to Miami,” Heat President Pat Riley said of the former Toronto Raptors, where he spent the first seven seasons of his career. “And he changed our lives for the better, in a way we never would have imagined when he joined the Miami Heat. 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.”
Shortly after James left the Heat declining the last year of his contract to return to the Cavaliers, Bosh signed a new five-year deal to stay with the Heat, worth $118 million.
In the first year of that new deal, Bosh appeared in just 44 games in the 2014-15 NBA campaign as his season concluded at the All-Star break when the first known blood clot episode began. The next season, Bosh was shelved after just 53 games at All-Star weekend, when another clot was found shortly after he landed in Toronto for the 2016 All-Star Game. Bosh has not played another game since then, missing the Heat’s last 125 games.
“I’m kind of getting the taste of retirement now,” Bosh, who had been doing some analysis for the NBA on TNT said back in January.
The Dallas, TX native had hoped to make a return this past season, but he failed his physical prior to the start of training camp and the Heat made it very clear that they were moving on without him in their plans.
The team because of the sensitivity of the situation of Bosh, was not able to provide specifics-under NBA rules, any matter which could rise to the level of the possibility of life-threatening was not to be discussed in any open matter by any of the 30 teams without that player’s consent.
When the Heat announced that they were releasing Bosh, they made no reference to his health issues or status.
“You always want the best for Chris, whatever that is,” then Heat captain Udonis Haslem, who is a free agent said earlier this year. “I know how difficult this has been for him.”
Bosh played 13 seasons in the NBA, with as previously mentioned his first seven with the Toronto Raptors, who drafted him No. 4 overall in 2003 out of Georgia Tech. He averaged 19.2 points and 8.5 rebounds during those seasons.
He spent the next six seasons with the Heat, as he was part of that massive free agent haul in 2010 where the Heat not only re-signed Wade, but landed James to form what Riley felt could become a dynastic time for the franchise.
Bosh played a major role in leading to the Heat’s second title, when in Game 6 of the 2013 Finals down by three points late versus the Spurs, he grabbed an offensive rebound and tossed the ball to Ray Allen in the right corner where he nailed a three-pointer that nodded the game with 05.2 seconds left. On the Spurs’ final possession of regulation, Bosh blocked Danny shot as time expired. The Heat would win Game 6 in overtime, and would prevail in Game 7 to win back-to-back titles and the third championship in Heat franchise history. The front end of the back-to-back came against then Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Russell Westbrook, who the Heat defeated in five games.
There are very few players who play for as long as Chris Bosh did and never win a championship, let alone accomplish what he has from their high school career, to college to the pros. In 2002, Bosh was named Mr. Basketball when he was at Lincoln High School in Dallas, TX, and helped the FIBA Americas under 18 team to a Bronze medal in Isla Margarita. In his one season at Georgia Tech, Bosh was named the 2003 American Coastal Conference (ACC) Rookie of the Year. In his time with the Raptors, Bosh made the All-Rookie First-Team in 2004, and was an All-NBA selection to the Second-Team in 2007. On the Olympic stage, he helped lead the “Redeem Team,” also known as Team USA to Gold in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Along with making the All-Star team 11 times in his career (2006-2016), Bosh was a part of the NBA Shooting Stars and was part of the winning team in 2013, 2014, and 2015. Bosh as mentioned earlier, helped lead the Heat to two titles. This is the kind of resume that lands most in the Hall of Fame and that will hopefully be the final stop in Bosh’s basketball journey when it concludes. The hope is that he remains in good health, particularly for the sake of his wife Adrienne and their four children.
“It was scary to leaving Toronto, a place where people really loved and supported me, and I wasn’t sure if that great feeling would follow me,” Bosh said in his thank you letter to Miami on heatnation.com yesterday. “When I arrived in Miami, I was hoping for glory and mention amongst the immortals of basketball. What I got was so much more.”
He concluded by saying, “People will always see trophies and banners and think that’s the whole story. But it’s only a piece, only a moment in time. I’ve learned that no matter what happens on the court, the game continues. We went through life together, Miami. You showed me how to stay strong and push through in the toughest moments. And although I didn’t like it at the time, it made all the difference in the long run. It made me a better man, the person I am today. Thank you.”
Information, statistics, and quotations are courtesy of 7/4/17 NBA.com article, “Miami Heat Waiver Chris Bosh; Plan to Retire No. 1 Jersey,” by Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press; 7/9/17 heatnation.com article “Read Chris Bosh’s Touching Thank You Letter to the City of Miami,” by Jonathan Sherman; and http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Bosh.