While Chris Bosh still wants an NBA gig, he’s trying a new sport
The 11-time All-Star discusses his health, Wade and LeBron, and video games
The 2018-19 NBA season will be the last lap for Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade. And his former Heat teammate Chris Bosh acknowledges it will be his, too, if he doesn’t get a call this season.
“I am still aspiring to play in the NBA,” Bosh told The Undefeated. “Obviously, if nothing happens in the next few months, I’m not crazy, that will be a wrap. But right now, I’m trying to make it happen. I’m still very confident. It’s just something I want to do. A lot of people ask me, ‘Why? Why? Why?’ I guess people will never understand unless they are in my shoes. It’s an unfinished painting. I had a masterpiece in my mind, saw where it was going and had opportunities.
“My last year in the league, we had a pretty stellar team that could’ve competed for the Eastern Conference championship and try to get to the Finals and compete. I wanted to be that sort of leader to get back to that stage, to be frank with you, without LeBron [James], and to compete against each other. We’ve been competing against each other since 16, 17 years old. That was my goal at that time, and it got cut short for whatever reason. But the game is the game and is a beautiful game. I always want to compete and feel like there is more to be done.”
Bosh first learned he had a blood clot in his lung in February 2015 and has not played in a game since Feb. 9, 2016. The 13-year NBA veteran averaged 19.2 points and 8.5 rebounds with the Heat and Toronto Raptors and also won an Olympic gold medal. But ESPN.com’s Jackie MacMullan reported in March that four general managers said they would not be interested in signing even a medically cleared Bosh.
While Bosh has not given up hope of reviving his NBA career, he has also become involved in another sport: global esports.
Bosh recently joined Gen.G, a global esports organization, as the player management adviser. The two-time NBA champion, whose role will focus on helping esports players develop leadership and teamwork skills, recently worked with esports players in Los Angeles.
“It was a high-pressure situation,” Bosh said. “It was a feel-out session more than anything. Guys were really quiet and they didn’t say much. But from what I heard, after I left they couldn’t stop talking about it. They were formulating more ideas about next time.
“I want the guys to feel comfortable talking to me. I do understand there is a culture barrier and a language barrier for guys on work visas away from home. But I want them to be able to confide in me and be able to trust me because if we all do well, it’s a great thing.”
The following is a Q&A with Bosh, who talks about his health, LeBron James going to the Los Angeles Lakers, and more.
How is your health right now?
My health is great. I feel great. I have been working out and just trying my best to stay in shape. My day will come.
Has any NBA team contacted you about playing for them or asked you to come in for a workout?
Teams are just waiting to hear back from me. I’ve talked to a couple of guys. They just want to know where I am at. They want to have a conversation with me and talk to me and see what it is I’m exactly trying to do. I’ve been doing other things and taking care of my personal life. But I think in the next couple months I will really be able to reach out to guys. I’m ready to work out if they want me to do that. Once I keep talking about it, it will happen.
When is the last time you competed in a game?
I play all the time. I played two weeks ago up and down. Everything else is drills. I’d rather play, but the runs get light during the season.
How much do you miss the NBA?
I miss it. It was my life. I tell people when they ask me, ‘Oh, you do all these other things.’ That is true. But this was the thing I’ve been doing my whole life and I’m the best in the world at. It kind of stings not being able to do it. I see the games. I miss the guys. Now with all 3-point shooting, I want to shoot some 3s.
Have you ever asked yourself, “Why me?”
That comes with any kind of situation like that. I know some people would feel bad to ask that. But I don’t think that’s a bad question. I’m on a quest to figure out, ‘Yeah, why me?’ Maybe there is something bigger. Maybe there is something positive at the end of that road. Well, there is something bigger and positive.
Those are just feelings and emotions you have to fight or just listen to objectively and kind of move on from it. But I’ve been in the house with my family and have been taking my kids to school every morning. Just being the dad. Living the dad life. That is pretty important. I just want to make sure I’m doing the right thing and falling into the right thing. I am just trying to pick up these other things and make sure I am doing well at that in my household and being a good father and let everything else fall into place.
What were your thoughts on Wade announcing he will retire after this season?
It’s a beautiful thing knowing that it’s your last lap. That is something I want. That is something that I might not get. I definitely understand him being in the position that he is in because I don’t know what else he can do. He’s been one of the best players in the league for a long time, multiple champion, gold medalist, all these different accolades.
There is not much left on the table except a last lap. Everybody can have that time to say goodbye and he can move on. That is an awesome, awesome thing. For him and UD [Udonis Haslem] to have that chance together, that is something special.
What are your thoughts on LeBron going to the Lakers?
It is interesting. I didn’t think he was going to do it. … With the Lakers, it’s all about championships, and you have to know what you’re getting into with the Lakers. And ‘Bron knows that. That is his next challenge. You have to have a reason to win and aspire to be the best at something every day.
It was a pretty bold move. No offense to the other teams in the East, but he had a pretty good stronghold in the East. He could have kept that going, but he probably got tired of winning the East every year.
So, you’re a real gamer in the video game world?
Within reason. I say that in respect of the people who really do it. I would like to play more, but my kids won’t let me. It ends up being a family event and that is not always a good thing, especially with some games you’re playing.
I’ve been into games for a while. I played Madden and all the shooter games. I have never been into [NBA] 2K because my friends would beat the hell out of me.
What are your favorite video games now?
I’m in between games right now. I only have time to play one. Obviously, I’m interested in Overwatch because Gen.G has an Overwatch team. I’m not playing it, but I am interested in it. [Call of Duty:] Black Ops III is about to come out. I’ve always been a Black Ops fan. I don’t know if I’m going to get it. We’ll see. It’s real tough with the kids in the house trying to have that free time to yourself a little bit. But I’m still trying to figure out the gaming and father kind of balance.
How did you get involved in this new gaming venture?
Speaking to a good friend of mine, Phillip Hyun, we worked together on another venture a couple years ago. Through talking, hanging out and bouncing ideas off of each other, we just slowly started talking about the current state of gaming and this situation that Gen.G is in and the [team] they’re trying to bring to this league.
Professional gaming is still real young. It has a lot of room to be defined. He just wanted me to help out in some sort of way to help define it into that organization that everybody wants to play for. You kind of got to do that by staking your claim in it early and making sure that you have what it takes to be a champion.
You have been a star on a team and have had to redefine your role-playing alongside two other stars in LeBron and Wade with the Heat. How did you change mentally for the different role, and how can you implement it to gaming?
From the aspect of team building, there are so many things that guys have to deal with. As a basketball player, as an athlete, it’s expected. Or, you’re supposed to change. And it’s going to be the same thing with professional games. There are going to be young guys making a lot of money with a bunch of ability.
What the guys need to understand is this is a whole other game. You are in a whole other lifestyle in literally another league. And bringing those concepts to function on and off the field, court, as well as team building, it’s all the same to me. You have to be a team player. You have to always come together for a common goal, and that isn’t always an easy thing.
I am trying to take everything that I’ve learned and take it to a place where everyone can understand and I can understand. Everybody might say, ‘Well, they are playing a video game.’ But now, this is a team. These are world-class athletes. This is a world-class organization. Winning is expected. We’re going to help motivate the guys to build for something bigger.
You went from being the franchise player with the Toronto Raptors to playing with two other stars. Did you ever think, why did I do this? Perhaps I should have stayed where I was? You were winning, but you sacrificed a lot individually in the process.
Yeah, of course. That is human nature. Yeah, I felt like that some days. You have to have the mindset to be able to bounce those ideas and be able to talk freely. That is what I want the players to do with me. If they’re like, ‘Man, nobody is going to understand where I am, what I am trying to do or how I feel,’ that is kind of where I would plug in those holes.
And, yeah, I had those same feelings. We’re kind of in a place where you are defined by numbers. Early on in your career, you want to win. Winning to you is 25 [points] and 15 [rebounds] every night; at least to me it was. There’s a certain attention that comes with that. There is notoriety that comes with that. And there is a certain respect that comes with that.
But there is also more of a long-term respect when you are on a team, you’re winning and you’re contributing to things. [Individual accolades] can be a tough thing to fight, especially when you’re young. I had those experiences, share it with those guys and tell them that sometimes it is normal to feel like that. You can’t suppress it and say, ‘You can’t talk to nobody because they will judge me or feel like I’m bulls—ing’ or something like that. That is totally not the case.
Is there any story you may have during that 2010-11 season where you felt like that?
I will give you the overview of our first year [with the Heat], my beatdown year that [season]. People made me feel like I wasn’t really a good basketball player. Guys were going out of their way to not choose me for the All-Star Game. Up until recently I felt like I should have done better that year. But when I look back, I was averaging like 18 points and eight rebounds. I was averaging the same numbers as a second option in the same position on another team.
That would definitely be one of the things. Sometimes, outside sources would make you feel like you’re incapable or you’re not doing what you’re supposed to or you need to be doing more numberswise. Sometimes, it is important for guys to understand where guys are at and put their heart and soul into the team instead of worrying about other situations that doesn’t have anything to do with them.
So you’re watching these gaming competitions now? Do you understand it all and get butterflies watching them?
I understand it. But I’m trying to understand it more so I can get butterflies and get that old feeling back. I am looking forward to seeing the huge competitions. We haven’t been there yet. We just went to a normal place with a soundstage in a studio in L.A. for that.
But I want to fully understand what these guys are doing, how they feel about it and the positions that need to be filled on the team. What it takes to be a successful League of Legends team, Overwatch team … whatever game is being played, I want to make sure I understand so when I give advice to give some sort of tutelage.