Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Inside the Mind of Chris Bosh

Recall the the movie 'Being John Malkovich'. Directed by Spike Jonze and released in 1999, the film revolves around a portal that leads people directly inside the head of John Malkovich and allows them to feel, hear and see anything Malkovich is experiencing.

Well, it just so happens that I've found a similar door in my office that acts as a portal inside Chris Bosh. Seriously. And just as it does in Being John Malkovich, this adventure lasts for 15 minutes (although instead of being dumped by the Jersey Turnpike this ride ends with a seat on the TTC, in a Subway Car stopped at Finch station).

However, unlike John Cusack's character in the movie, I will not attempt to profit from this finding. Instead I will pass on everything I saw and learned about the impending free-agent.

Trip #1
My first trip inside the mind of CB4 came while Bosh and his teammates were in the practice gym, working on shooting. And by 'working on' I mean joking around, trash-talking, texting and generally not working on shooting. In one corner you had Andrea Bargnani, Hedo Turkoglu and Marco Belinelli flipping through an issue of Vogue and re-enacting Justin Timberlake dance moves. No kidding. In another, Antoine Wright, Marcus Banks and Sonny Weems were throwing dice, and in another Rasho Nesterovic and Patrick O'Bryant looked like they were frozen. I wanted Bosh to walk over for a quick chat or throw a bullet chest pass to one of them to see if they were actually sleeping on their feet with their eyes open. It was extremely creepy and yet fascinating. In the midst of it all, head coach Jay Triano was pacing back and forth and constantly repeating sporadic comments like "play hard guys", "hustle", and "that's it, that's it". To whom he was talking was a mystery, because absolutely no one was paying him any attention. Except DeRozan, who was nodding his head like a puppy eager to please his owner. Bosh, on the other hand, was alone shooting at a basket along the side of the gym with the athletic trainer feeding him basketballs. Swish. Swish. Swish. I counted 22 in a row before he finally missed and the whole time all he was thinking was "jump, cock, release, follow through". You know how sometimes you're watching the game and you wonder how and why some players are so much better than others? Stop wondering.

Trip #2
On my next expedition Bosh was in the gym lifting weights with Amir Johnson and Raptors strength and conditioning coach Francesco Cuzzolin. In between bench-press sets Bosh asked Cuzzolin, "where are the rest of the guys?" and the only response he got was a simple shrug of the shoulders. Bosh momentarily pictured the arms of Turkoglu, and then Bargnani, shook his head and began another set of reps. With each push of the bar upwards, Bosh imagined former and current NBA greats. Jordan, Bird, Magic, Lebron, Wade, Kobe. During rest periods, he exchanged texts with Jay Leno, who was inviting him back to cover the NBA Finals again. Bosh was flattered but said he couldn't commit yet because he could still be playing. Hmmmmmm, that doesn't sound like the Toronto team I've been watching. Red flag alert.

Trip #3
This one was a total waste of time. Hoping for further insight into his plans for next year and beyond, all I ended up doing was watching Bosh play 'Madden' with his brother while they tried to rap over Timbaland beats (apparently brand new and produced specifically for him) and discussed possible YouTube skits. Be prepared for a Whoopi Goldberg/Mikki Moore love child bit. And maybe an album. Or a variety show. Really, everything is on the table at this point. Oh, and if you ever have the chance to play vids with Bosh, do not take him on in Madden. His cover-two defense was suffocating and he had Drew Brees looking like, well, Drew Brees. Only better.

Trip #4
Finally, I end up on the floor with Bosh during an actual game. Well, almost. It was against the Atlanta Hawks and the Raps were already down by 20 in the second quarter by the time I arrived, but I was still looking forward to getting a better understanding of the on-court relationships Bosh has with his teammates. And just like that, Jose gave Bosh a look and they connected on a devastating alley-oop dunk. Since I was a kid, I've always wanted to experience the thrill of dunking a basketball. Good times. From there it took about 60 additional seconds for me to realize that there are 20 or so games left in CB4's Toronto career. Bosh cursed Bargnani under his breath for A) letting a rebound tip off his hands out of bounds, B) clanking consecutive wide open threes without giving Bosh a touch, and C) looking like a big dope who only plays basketball because he happens to be seven feet tall. After Mike Bibby burnt Jose on back-to-back possessions and Turkoglu laughed off a 14-0 run against them, Bosh's blood was boiling and I'm 90% sure I heard him think, "five more years with this nucleus? No thanks". When Triano mercifully pulled him off the court with less than a minute remaining in the half, Bosh went to the bench, put a towel over his head and definitely said "only six more months till Miami".

That final trip was more than enough to break the heart of every Raptors fan, but is by no means a shock to anyone. The team around Bosh is simply not good enough to entice him to stay.

Clearly things can change. The Raptors, theoretically, could go on a ridiculous tear that turns them into a bonafide title contender and convinces Bosh to stay. The rest of the Toronto roster could suddenly develop toughness, intensity and basketball smarts. Heck, Lindsay Lohan could still potentially win an Oscar.

It's just not likely.


  1. i hate the truth...and you just spoke sounds logical, the lack of state income tax will make up for a tonne of the money that Bosh will leave on the table to leave the Raptors...

    unknown fan

  2. I think Bosh is gone too. Actually I'm not sure we want to commit the max to Bosh anyway so it might be a blessing in disguise. Fifteen years in and this franchise has never even come close to seriously competing for a title.

    PS: On your TOTD, I love Doc and all, but there is no doubt in my mind that Steib was the best picther ever for the Jays, Delgado the best hitter, and Alomar possibly the best all around.

  3. A friend and huge Raps fan sent me this email this morning - "If we have any hope of salvaging the season and/or keeping Bosh we need a Van Gundying immediately". I agree. Either we have the wrong players or they won't compete for Triano. Either way, we need a change.

  4. Bosh is very good offensively but is a below or average defender. On a team that needs improved defence it would be nice if your franchise guy was able to lead by example.