|ESPN.com: Heat Index||[Print without images]|
“Suddenly, without Bosh's presence, the Heat appeared top-heavy and vulnerable. Perhaps fatally so. And then the panic set in. And for the first time Bosh can remember, his harshest critics began to change their tune. Bosh was vital to the Heat's pursuit of a championship again. The national media began to echo LeBron James' and Erik Spoelstra's assertions that Bosh was the Heat's most irreplaceable player. "Funny how that happens," Bosh says. "I've never heard my name so much since I've been out. It's funny to me, all the guys who were killing me, just to hear everything now that I'm a huge part of the team." The flash flood of praise was certainly welcome, but he still wishes it came on different terms. Being temporarily separated from the team, he has no choice but living vicariously through the team. "It is weird and very, very difficult," Bosh says. "I really realize how disconnected I've been and I have to be. Since I've been hurt, it's OK, well, they're on the road, they're in shootaround, they're practicing. And I have to rehab. It's a hell of a process." This is unfamiliar ground for Bosh and most NBA stars. Rarely has a player been so harshly mocked, yet also deemed essential to a team's championship hopes.
Funny how that happens. I've never heard my name so much since I've been out. It's funny to me, all the guys who were killing me, just to hear everything now that I'm a huge part of the team.” -- Chris Bosh
|After the Heat lost to Dallas in the Finals in 2011, Bosh cried for all the world to see ... and criticize.|
“"To people who made fun of it, I thought it was messed up," Bosh says of his tearful meltdown. "It meant that much to me. "What are your dreams?" Bosh asks. "What do you want the most out of anything in this world? Dangle it in front of you, work hard as hell to get it, and then take it away. Gone." To demonstrate, Bosh raises his left arm high and holds an imaginary carrot in the air. To Bosh's credit, his dreams weren't exactly taken away because of his own undoing. He convincingly outplayed Kevin Garnett in the Eastern Conference semifinals last spring, then scored more points than Dwyane Wade in the Eastern Conference finals and scored more points than LeBron James in the NBA Finals. He was the team's most consistent player in the playoffs, despite loud nation-wide skepticism he lacked the toughness or experience to compete in the biggest moments. "It doesn't have anything with being tough or being soft," Bosh says. "I truly believed that we were going to win it. And in that moment, I just thought about everything, all those things we went through, you're very vulnerable. I gave everything I had. All your feelings, all your energy, you put everything out there. And you come up short. It was a hell of an experience just to be hurt." It's not the first time Bosh has cried about a basketball outcome. As a junior at Lincoln High School in Dallas, he broke down in front of local TV cameras in Texas after he lost in the state semifinals. Same scenario as this past June. "We were supposed to win it that year," Bosh remembers. "I was walking off, and I'm, like, man it's over. There's a moment when it hits you. "As soon as the camera was in my face," Bosh says while cupping his hands over his face. "You get it all out. I was good after that. And I know one thing, I came back stronger and that was the most important thing." The next season, Bosh won state.
"To people who made fun of it, I thought it was messed up," Bosh says of his tearful meltdown. "It meant that much to me. ... What are your dreams? What do you want the most out of anything in this world? Dangle it in front of you, work hard as hell to get it, and then take it away. Gone."” -- Chris Bosh