Chris Bosh was an All-Star his final 11 seasons. His skills – jump shooting, defensive mobility – made him an ideal small-ball center at a time the NBA was embracing that playing style. He just signed a five-year max contract with the Heat a couple years prior.
But his career ended more than two years ago at age 31 due to blood-clotting issues.
Bosh, via Jack MacMullan of ESPN:
“It’s pretty much like cruising along, going 150 miles an hour in your Porsche — and then you fall into a hole,” Bosh says.
“You go from being with the guys all the time, in the locker room, in practice, having a militarized brain in terms of this schedule, and then all of a sudden you are on your own,” he says. “You lose a sense of purpose, you lose a sense of yourself. And you lose confidence. You find yourself saying, ‘I was the best at this and now I’m not the best.’ You have to deal with not being very good. You have to deal with people no longer catering to you.
“You start feeling forgotten. You don’t get as many phone calls. You don’t stay at the forefront of people’s minds. It’s natural, it’s life, you have to understand what’s happening, but I definitely see why the divorce rate is so high, and why players go broke.
“Guys spend all their money trying to capture that feeling again. You can’t eat at Prime 112 (Restaurant) every night anymore. There’s this never-ending search for that feeling that you once had, and it can cost you.”
Bosh has had a hard time letting go, repeatedly talking about coming back. It’s nearly impossible to see that happening. Medical consensus deems it unsafe for him to play, and the Heat’s decision to shut him down set a precedent against experimental methods of handling his condition.
I wish Bosh accepted that, but moving on is easier said than done. It’s surely harder for him to be logical about this situation that it is for me from afar.
His comments to MacMullan – read them all, including how he leans on his wife for support – are illuminating and sad. Unlike many NBA players, Bosh seemed like an intellectual with many interests outside basketball. It appeared he could transition out of playing better than most. But it’s hard, especially because he didn’t leave the game on his own terms.
Hopefully, Bosh eventually finds peace. He’s clearly not there yet.