It’s been three years since Miami Heat doctors first noticed a blood clot in Chris Bosh’s lung that hastened his retirement, but the two-time NBA champion remains wistful about his bygone days on an NBA hardwood. Bosh’s premature exodus hastened the Heat’s reboot. Prior to his clotting issues, Bosh, 33, was one of the premier stretch-5’s in The Association.
Bosh opened up to ESPN.com reporter Jackie MacMullan to discuss his rocky acclimation to a post-NBA life. Bosh has reiterated that he was ready to play in February, specifically for the Warriors, Rockets and the Raptors, but MacMullan spoke to four anonymous general managers about whether they’d consider signing Bosh and their conclusions weren’t hopeful. All four said they’d pounce on Bosh’s talent, but also held reservations because they don’t have access to his Heat medical records.
Bosh’s most sincere personal regret is not being able to flex on the league in an era where his skills would be utilized best. After spending most of his career languishing on the fringes of relevance in Toronto, and then enduring a complicated existence as the third wheel on the Heatles, Bosh hung around to assume a starring role in the post-LeBron years,
“I watch the whole small ball thing and say, ‘Damn, I worked my whole career to play in an environment like this. These are my skills. These are my moves.’ But I can’t use them.”
The emotions are so overwhelming, Bosh can hardly bring himself to watch much NBA action. On the outside of the NBA, Bosh also finds himself longing for the camaraderie. After a lengthy battle with the Heat to resume playing, he finds himself in solitude since he was officially waived last summer.
Losing the game is one thing. Losing the environment that accompanies it has been even harder. The players he spent every waking moment with for nearly 10 months a year have, one by one, vanished from his life.
“It tails off,” Bosh admits. “Guys tried [to stay in touch]. But it doesn’t last. They get in the middle of the season and you aren’t part of it. You’re sitting here feeling like nobody cares about you.
Bosh’s feelings aren’t rare among retired athletes. Bosh’s dilemma is more unique because of how his playing career ended so abruptly. The NBA has programs in place to prepare players for the future of life after basketball, but Bosh was thrust into that unfamiliar future. There was no traumatic injury, then rehab to ease him into retirement, and he was coming off his 11th selection to the All-Star Game in 12 seasons.
Bosh, who works from home and is building his financial portfolio, hasn’t given up on “one more shot” at the league, but has found some solace in his marriage.
“She has helped me realize I have to move on, create a new life. I’m a husband, I’m a father, and I’ve got to dive into that now.”
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