On Saturday night, the Miami Heat fell to the Chicago Bulls, 99-96. It was their third loss in a row, their second game without LeBron James and the first this season without Chris Bosh available, as he spent the fourth quarter in the locker room nursing a freshly sprained ankle.
Okay, so tough loss, but no big deal, right?
Wrong. Bosh wasn’t happy with the play where he injured his ankle. Particularly, he was displeased by the decision of Bulls’ rookie Omer Asik to dive for a loose ball and try to grant his team another possession. The replay of the injury clearly shows Asik diving towards the ball, his hip connecting with Bosh’s foot, causing him to roll his ankle.
It was an unfortunate collision and absolutely looked like it hurt. It was one that made you wince while watching and had Bosh dropping an F-bomb as he tried to walk it off. It was a play involving two guys trying to help their team win a basketball game. It was entirely innocent, a non-story and non-issue.
Unless you ask Bosh.
“C’mon, that is how guys get hurt, that is how serious injuries happen,” Bosh told ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. “You’ve got to watch people’s legs. I know guys want to hustle and everything but we all want to play and provide for our families and have a job.”
A couple of things here, if I may: First, who wants to remind Bosh that he’s locked in to his completely guaranteed $109 million contract, and will have made more than $150 million in salary by the time he’s a free agent again at the age of 32? In comparison, Asik will make $1.7 million this season. When you’re getting paid that much money to play basketball, diving on the floor should be a no-brainer.
Bosh had more thoughts on the play.
“If [the ball] is by somebody’s leg, don’t dive for the ball, it’s too close,” he said.
Because in the split-second a player has to make the decision to dive for a loose ball, they’ve got time to stop and consider the ramifications of whether or not the ball could roll, or their body could collide with someone else, depending on the movement another player makes. I suppose, then, that Shaquille O’Neal should consider the well-being of his bench before diving for a loose ball and almost taking out his teammates. Or players like Dennis Rodman definitely should have thought twice before going after a loose ball and ending up in the crowd.
Rodman brings me to my second point: Not all NBAers are born with the natural athleticism and skill that Bosh possesses. There are only so many superstars. Rodman built a career out of his hustle and is almost synonymous with the word “rebound” years after his retirement. For the guys who were blessed with some height, passion for the game and lots of heart, they are able to provide for their families because of their hustle. Ask Raja Bell or Bo Outlaw about diving for loose balls. Hell, ask Charles Oakley if he’s ever thought about whether or not he should dive for a loose ball because an opponent is near it and he’ll look at you like you’re crazy.
After covering Bosh for two seasons here in Toronto, I can say without any hesitance that he is one of the nicest superstars you could ever hope to meet in the NBA. He’s a nice guy. Respectful. Pleasant.
I get that the guy is probably in pain and hurting, but come on. Accidents happen, injuries are a part of the deal and it sucks being unable to help your team gut out a win. I’m not trying to say if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen (pun not intended), but rather, where did this come from?
We’ve seen Bosh get injured, banged up, bruised from contact. He missed the end of the season last year because of an accidental elbow to the face from Antawn Jamison that caused a broken nose because both players were going after a rebound. No complaints there. These comments don’t sound like something I would have heard him say last season. There’s just a sense of entitlement that rings out to me and I don’t like it. Not even a little bit.
Guys who make something out of nothing, who turn that passion into a career, who energize their teammates, inspire their home fans and leave every ounce of themselves onto the floor, whether its through blood, sweat or burn marks from sliding across the court — they are my favorite. This is probably why these comments irked me so much. To suggest that those players need to stop and think before doing anything would be to take away their best quality: self-sacrifice.
I’m not trying to rail on Bosh too much here, I’m just saying that once he calms down, he’ll likely realize how off-base his comments were. If not, maybe watching some tape of teammate, Heat captain, and hustle hero Udonis Haslem will open his eyes.