May 09, 2011
Throughout this season, Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh(notes) has been criticized for a perceived lack of toughness and general aversion to doing the dirty work that wins championships. He's a finesse player, not a banger, and the Heat have usually needed the latter instead of the former. Bosh does lots of things well, but defense and rebounding aren't what make him an All-Star.
Bosh's season reached its nadir during Saturday's Game 3 in Boston. With the Heat needing solid performances from the whole Big Three on the road, Bosh crapped the bed: six points on 1-of-6 shooting, five rebounds, and one assist in 30 minutes. He was so bad that at one point I literally forgot he had played in the first half.
To his credit, Bosh knows he was terrible. In fact, he admitted that he was intimidated by the road crowd. From Brian Windhorst at the Heat Index:
The intensity of that atmosphere got to Chris Bosh, something he admitted when looking back on his first road game in the second round. Bosh said nerves were a major factor in perhaps his worst game of the season, a six-point, five-rebound effort in 30 minutes in the Heat's 97-81 blowout loss.
"Given all the elements that were out there last night ... they were so hyped," Bosh said. "My emotions got the best of me early on and it kind of dictated what I was doing for the rest of the game."
Earlier Monday, I wrote that the standard conception of playoff toughness is overblown, and that the better team, not the manlier one, wins games. But there's a difference between toughness and confidence, and you kind of sort of need to believe in yourself to win a game. Bosh has played in hostile environments before and should have been more prepared. That he wasn't speaks poorly to his ability to be a part of a championship team.
As a person, though, I think this only makes him more endearing. Fans want basketball players to be tough, but nerves are a normal human reaction. That Bosh was willing to admit as much shows that he's comfortable with his emotions and willing to express them even when they'll make him look bad in his profession. He's an honest guy, and we could use more of those in the world.
Unfortunately for Bosh, he plays basketball, and this is a bad look for him. But if you think of him as a person, not just a public figure, he comes out looking pretty relatable.