Since his jump to Miami in 2010, eight-time All-Star forward/center Chris Bosh has turned into a bit of a punch line. His smart batch of humor, slender build of frame, and status as a distant third among the Heat’s Big Three triptych including LeBron James and Dwyane Wade allow for that. Bosh, working on a championship defender and out of the city of his choice, doesn’t seem to mind. It’s a refreshing nuance, stuck in the middle of a league that at times seems to be full of insecure types that hedge their quotes.
This is probably why Bosh didn’t hesitate for a second to call himself “a Hall of Famer” in a discussion with FOX Sports’ Chris Tomasson on Friday night. Chris’ borderline-stunning take can be found here:
"Hell, yeah, of course. I've been a Hall of Famer like four years ago," the Miami Heat center told FOX Sports Florida after Friday's 110-88 victory over Detroit. "And I say that very serious, though. I've talked about it before with my friends."
This is “borderline stunning” because modern athletes are conditioned not to speak like this. To not speak out about legacy, no matter how sober the take. There’s a reason that the line “excuse me while I take my first step toward the Hall of Fame” was penned for Willie Mays Hayes in ‘Major League’ as a joke. As hubris to be mocked.
Is Bosh to be mocked? The guy knows his media, he’s aware that saying something like this to Tomasson will surely get around once pen leads to paper, which leads to modem and social media, and he’s obviously aware that some people still view him as a poorly-rebounding hanger-on with the Heat’s top tier.
He’s not wrong, though.
He may feel like a newcomer of sorts, but Chris Bosh was drafted into the NBA nearly 10 years ago. He’s in his 10th season, and he’s played fantastic basketball throughout his career. Whether he was working by his lonesome in Toronto or hungering for scraps in Miami, Bosh has remained a potent offensive performer that can rebound and help defensively with his length. At just 28 years of age, he’s already amassed nearly 13,500 career points.
Of course, we have no idea what that number means. Basketball just doesn’t have the sort of end-all numerical touchstones that baseball does. There’s no “500 homers” or “3,000 hits” or “wasn’t listed in the Mitchell Report” that allows us to sign off on a potential Hall of Famer midway through his career. Toss in the NCAA and international influence (to say nothing of shoe company heavy-handedness) on the Basketball Hall of Fame’s voting process, and it’s really hard to get a grasp on who will get in some years down the line, and who won’t.
Bosh turns 29 in a couple of months, though. His touch and smarts will allow for him, health-willing, to remain an All-Star level contributor for perhaps another half-decade. All-Star appearances shouldn’t be a barometer of greatness, both fans and coaches can get these things wrong, but Bosh’s efficient work and ability to either pick up the pieces on a great team or hold his own on a terrible team should be in place well into his 30s.
Bosh's career averages round out to nearly 20 points per game and nine rebounds, while shooting 49 percent. His per-game averages have dipped for three consecutive years, but that’s sort of par for the course when you line up with two of the biggest ball dominators in the game in LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. Bosh’s minutes have dipped since he’s hit Miami as well, the coaching staff’s nod to the fact that they need their big man to be fresh in June and not dragging it out in January. All of these hallmarks hurt the raw numbers, but they don’t blur the overall picture. If Chris Bosh continues apace for the next five or six years, he’ll be a deserved Hall of Famer.
And to preemptively take on the critics … what’s wrong with a player admitting as much?
We want these players to exude confidence, to bathe in bravado and pretend like nothing can get to them. Up until a point – a nebulous point – where we hold our nose and complain about confidence or cockiness gone wrong. We want these guys to not only play like Hall of Famers, but act like one as well. But heaven forbid these guys actually say what we’re already talking about online or on a barstool – that Chris Bosh will probably end up in the Hall of Fame some day, and that this reality was already in place “like four years ago.”
Keep talking, Chris Bosh, because we dig your honesty. And keep playing Hall of Fame-basketball, because we’re more than happy with your career arc. Someday Springfield will be as happy as we are, we’re guessing.
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