Bosh during a Heat game in November 2014
|No. 1 – Miami Heat|
|Position||Power forward / Center|
|Born|| March 24, 1984 |
|Listed height||6 ft 11 in (2.11 m)|
|Listed weight||235 lb (107 kg)|
|High school|| Lincoln |
|College||Georgia Tech (2002-2003)|
|NBA Draft||2003 / Round: 1 / Pick: 4th overall|
|Selected by the Toronto Raptors|
|Playing career||2003-present (14 years)|
|Career highlights and awards|
Garnering an array of basketball accolades since his high school days, the power forward left college at Georgia Tech after one season to enter the 2003 NBA Draft. He was selected fourth overall by the Toronto Raptors in a very competitive draft class. While at Toronto, Bosh emerged as one of the young stars in the league; he became a five-time NBA All-Star, was named to the All-NBA second team once, appeared for the US national team (with whom he won a gold medal at the 2008 Olympics), and took over former fan-favorite Vince Carter as the face and leader of the Raptors franchise. In the 2006–07 season, Bosh led the Raptors to their first NBA Playoffs berth in five years, and their first ever division title. He left Toronto as its all-time leader in points, rebounds, blocks, double doubles, free throws made and attempted, and minutes played.
Owing to his initials and former jersey number, Bosh is nicknamed "CB4", a name first coined by former Toronto Raptors play-by-play commentator Chuck Swirsky. Due to his own childhood experience, Bosh set up the Chris Bosh Foundation to help promote sports and education amongst youths in Dallas and Toronto, and regularly speaks to youths about the benefits of reading.
Born in Dallas, Texas, to Noel and Freida Bosh, Chris Bosh grew up in Hutchins, Texas. A family-oriented person, Bosh often played basketball in the house with his younger brother, Joel. By four years of age, he began learning how to dribble a basketball in the gym where his dad played pick-up games. Although Bosh was always tall since youth and this allowed him to out-rebound others in basketball games, he only started learning the game around fourth grade at a playground near his grandmother's house. Apart from basketball, Bosh also played baseball up till high school, preferring to play as first baseman. Growing up, Bosh names his parents as the biggest influences on his personality and considered NBA superstar Kevin Garnett as his favorite athlete, modeling his play after him. Academically, Bosh always did well in school but he began to garner significant attention from college recruiters when he led Lincoln High School in Dallas to the number one ranking in the country and the USA Today National Championship with a perfect 40–0 season.
The teenager went on to lead Lincoln High to win the Class 4A state title before 16,990 fans as he racked up 23 points, 17 rebounds and nine blocks. Bosh was subsequently named High School Player of the Year by Basketball America, Powerade Player of the Year in Texas, a First-team all-American by Parade, McDonald's and EA Sports, a Second-team all-American by USA Today and SLAM Magazine, a First-team all-state player, and "Mr. Basketball" in Texas by the Texas Association of Basketball Coaches. With his combination of grades and basketball skills, Bosh was on a number of college recruiting lists. The University of Florida and the University of Memphis made serious attempts, but it was Paul Hewitt, coach of the Georgia Tech, who made the best impression. Bosh felt Hewitt would look out for his best interests and respect his aspirations to play professional basketball; moreover, Georgia Tech's transition offense impressed the teenager.
Bosh eventually chose to follow the footsteps of his cousin and aunt and attended Georgia Tech to study graphic design and computer imaging, and subsequently, management. There, he led the Yellow Jackets in averaging 15.6 points, 9.0 rebounds and 2.2 blocks in 31 games, and led the Atlantic Coast Conference in field goal percentage (.560), joining Antawn Jamison as the only freshmen ever to do so. Bosh originally intended to complete his degree, but by the end of the 2002–03 season, his strong performances convinced him that he was ready for the NBA. He left Georgia Tech after his freshman season and entered the 2003 NBA Draft. Although Bosh said in future interviews that he misses his college days, he believes he made the right decision to pursue a professional career. He also intends to obtain his college degree one day, to fulfill a promise made to his mother.
In a strong draft class comprising future All-Stars LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, and Dwyane Wade, Bosh was selected fourth overall by the Toronto Raptors in the 2003 NBA Draft and was signed on July 8, 2003. Prior to his signing, however, other NBA teams made offers for Bosh as they knew Toronto needed a veteran scorer, and Raptors star Vince Carter pressed for a trade. General Manager Glen Grunwald turned everyone down.
In his rookie season, Bosh was forced to play out of position as the Raptors' starting center after Antonio Davis was traded to the Chicago Bulls. Night in and night out the wiry teenager battled against opponents who had a significant size and strength advantage over him. Bosh—who cited teammate Michael Curry as his mentor—was often praised by his coaches for his heart, and willingness to play through pain and injuries resulting from his lack of body strength compared to some of the league's strong forwards and centers. Bosh's contributions were not unnoticed by teammates either, as he averaged 11.5 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.4 blocks, and 33.5 minutes in 75 games, leading all rookies in rebounding and blocks, and setting a franchise record for most rebounds in a rookie season with 557. Bosh was rewarded by being selected to the All-Rookie First Team for the 2003–04 season.
Heralded as a new hope
With the departure of the disenchanted franchise face of the team, Vince Carter, in December 2004, Bosh was simultaneously anointed as the new leader around whom Toronto would build. In the remaining games following Carter's departure, the power forward averaged 18.4 points, 9.5 rebounds, 1.6 blocks, and 38.1 minutes per game, improving in every major statistical category. He was awarded his first ever NBA Eastern Conference Player of the Week for games played between 3 and 9 January 2005. As the season drew to a close, analysts predicted that Bosh would become an All-Star one day. Bosh ended the 2004–05 season as the leading scorer and leading rebounder for the team on 21 and 46 occasions respectively.
Prior to the 2005–06 season, Bosh was named as one of Toronto's team captains. Bosh continued to work on his game as he consistently chalked up double doubles, leading the team in scoring, rebounding, and field goal percentage for the first half of the season. On February 9, 2006, for the first time in his career, Bosh was selected to play in the 2006 NBA All-Star Game in Houston, Texas as a reserve forward for the Eastern Conference. He was only the third Raptor to make an All-Star game, after Carter and Antonio Davis. Bosh's selection was just three days after he was named NBA Eastern Conference Player of the Week for the second time in his career. In March 2006, following a season-ending injury to Bosh, the Raptors hit a 1–10 skid. This highlighted Bosh's importance as the centerpiece of the offense, as well as the leader of the team. The Raptors finished the season 27–55 and Bosh averaged 22.5 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game.
Despite a major off-season revamp of the Raptors roster—including the departure of good friends Mike James and Charlie Villanueva—Bosh officially signed a three-year contract extension with a player option for a fourth year on July 14, 2006. The deal was reportedly worth $65 million over four years. Upon signing the contract, Bosh said, "I think the future is very positive for the franchise... change was needed... we have a lot of guys who just want to win and are willing to work hard." During the same press conference, Bosh also announced a donation of $1,000,000 to a Toronto charity, known as Community Legacy Programs.
Leader of the division champs
After a shaky start to the Raptors' 2006–07 campaign, the Raptors managed to surpass the 0.500 mark as the All-Star break approached. Bosh's play and leadership were pivotal to this run and as an increasing recognition of his abilities, on January 25, 2007, he was named an All-Star starter for the East in the 2007 NBA All-Star Game. Bosh received the second highest number of votes among all Eastern Conference forwards. This was his first All-Star start and second overall All-Star appearance, having averaged over 22 points and 11 rebounds in the first half of the season. On January 31, 2007, in a game against the Washington Wizards, Bosh scored a 65-foot (20 m) buzzer-beating shot to end the third quarter of the game. He shot 15-of-15 after missing his first four shots. Bosh's in-form streak enabled him to be selected Eastern Conference Player of the Month for January 2007. He had averaged 25.4 points and 9.1 rebounds while leading the Raptors to a 10–5 record in that month. On February 7, 2007, Bosh's career-high 41 points prompted the home fans to chant "MVP"—an unprecedented event in the Air Canada Centre. Two days later, Bosh collected 29 points and 11 rebounds against the Los Angeles Lakers, shooting 10-of-10 in the second half.
On March 28, 2007, Bosh became the new franchise record holder for double doubles in a home win against the Miami Heat. He was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for the third time in his career shortly after, having led Toronto to clinch their first NBA Playoffs berth in five years. Toronto went on to win its first ever division title, and concluded the regular season with a 47–35 record, including a 30–11 home record, both franchise records. As third seed, the Raptors played sixth seed New Jersey Nets in the first round of the 2007 NBA Playoffs. The series drew much media attention as Carter, who left had Toronto under acrimonious circumstances, was back at the ACC as a Net. In the opening game, while Carter was constantly booed by the home crowd and was not an offensive threat, Toronto's inexperience was evident as they struggled offensively and were down 65–78 going into the fourth quarter. A late rally by Toronto in the fourth quarter was not enough as they eventually lost 91–96. The Raptors won Game 2 at the ACC to tie the series 1–1, as Bosh recorded 25 points and a game-high 13 rebounds. The Nets won games 3 and 4 to lead 3–1, but Toronto forced Game 6 when they narrowly won 98–96 in Game 5. New Jersey won Game 6, however, and sent Toronto out of the first round. Bosh averaged a double-double with 22.6 ppg and 10.7 rpg for the regular season, both career-highs, and posted 17.5 ppg and 9.0 rpg for the playoffs. He was named to the All-NBA Second Team at the end of the 2006–07 campaign.
Before the 2007–08 season began, Andrea Bargnani, the number one pick in the 2006 NBA Draft, was slated to start at center and Bosh at power forward to form a strong Toronto frontcourt and Jason Kapono, a three-point specialist, was acquired via free agency from the Miami Heat to add offensive firepower; however, as the season unfolded, neither plans materialized as hoped. Bosh himself had a slow start to the season, but as mid-season approached, his form picked up and he was named Player of the Week for the second week of January. On January 31, 2008, he was selected to be on the Eastern Conference team for the 2008 NBA All-Star Game. In the meantime, Toronto continued to struggle and their problems were exacerbated when regular starting point guard T. J. Ford returned from injury and became frustrated playing backup to José Calderón. Nevertheless, even with injuries to Bosh (15 games), Jorge Garbajosa (75 games) and Ford (31 games), the Raptors concluded the regular season with a 41–41 record, and clinched the sixth seed for the 2008 NBA Playoffs. However, they were defeated by the Orlando Magic in the first round, losing 4–1.
The first-round series against the Magic was touted as the matchup between two of the league's best young big men in Dwight Howard and Bosh, but the Raptors were perceived to have an advantage because of their dual-point guard play. But Orlando held home court advantage, and the Raptors were unable to win the first two games in Amway Arena. In Game 1, Bargnani started at small forward. This did not matter, as Orlando took a huge lead in the first quarter. Howard dominated the game, finishing with more than 22 points than 25 rebounds and 5 blocks. The stifling defense held Toronto to 37.6% shooting. Bosh finished 4 for 11 from the field (13 of 13 in freethrows) and the Raptors lost by 14. Game 2 started similarly to Game 1, with Howard's dominance propelling the Magic to a sizeable lead, but solid plays from Bosh, Kapono and Calderón put the Raptors in front late in the fourth quarter. The Magic came back, and with 9 seconds left on the clock, Bosh missed 18-foot jumper as time expired, giving the Magic a one-point win. In Game 3, Ford and Calderón stepped up, and the Raptors preserved some hope with a 108–94 home win. In Game 4, the teams were almost tied going into the fourth quarter. Despite Bosh recording 39 points and 15 rebounds, deadly shooting by the Magic in the final few minutes ensured victory for the visitors. Back on the road in Game 5, Toronto was outplayed by the Magic in the second half, and the Raptors eliminated from the first round four games to one. General Manager Bryan Colangelo said at a press conference thereafter, "Whether it's protecting [Bosh] inside the paint, getting a little bit more of a presence in there, to just getting him another scorer that's going to shoulder some of that burden, it's something that's clear we have to get better", hinting that the roster was in need of an overhaul. Bosh said after the loss, "They played a great series, they executed on offence and defense better than we did and when it came to the small things, they did a better job... I can't sit here and bark in protest that the better team didn't win. That's pretty obvious. They beat us pretty good." Unlike the previous campaign, Bosh was not named to any of the All-NBA teams.
To provide Bosh with an experienced frontcourt partner, the Raptors pulled blockbuster trade prior to the 2008–09 campaign: six-time All-Star Jermaine O'Neal was acquired from the Indiana Pacers in exchange for Ford, Rasho Nesterovič, and Roy Hibbert, the 17th pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. Bosh—who had won an Olympic gold medal with the national team at Beijing 2008—started the season strong and playing better defense than ever. He averaged 26 points, 10 rebounds and 3.7 assists in his first three games and was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for the fifth time in his career. A week later, he became Toronto's all-time leader in offensive rebounds, surpassing Antonio Davis's record. While Bosh and O'Neal formed a formidable partnership in the frontcourt, the Raptors struggled to surpass the .500 mark. The principal deficiency of previous campaigns—wing players—continued to upend Toronto's progress. With the Raptors at 8–9, head coach Sam Mitchell was sacked and replaced by Jay Triano. Under the new regime, Bargnani finally blossomed as a player, but injuries and weaknesses in the roster meant that the Raptors entered the All-Star break 13 games under .500. On January 29, 2009, Bosh was named an All-Star reserve, but an injury ruled him out of the game. Two weeks later, in a bid to bring in a wing player and create greater salary flexibility, O'Neal and Jamario Moon were traded to Miami for Shawn Marion and Marcus Banks. The trade did not improve the team's win–loss record, however, and the Raptors were eliminated from contention with seven games of the regular season remaining. The bright spark in Bosh's campaign was his career-high 22.7 points per game, as well as his being one of two players in the league that season (the other being Dwight Howard) to average a 20/10 in points and rebounds. On April 20, 2009, Colangelo announced that he would offer Bosh a contract extension during the summer, which Bosh later refused to sign.
Overhauling the Roster
To prepare for the 2009–10 season, Bosh worked out under Ken Roberson, looking to add 20 pounds and bring his weight up to 250. Following the failure of the 2008–09 campaign, Colangelo knew that he had to shake up the roster to persuade Bosh to stay, and the Raptors were one of the busiest teams in the pre-season market. Toronto's lack of wing players was addressed by the drafting of DeMar DeRozan. They then managed to get Hedo Türkoğlu to renege on a verbal commitment to sign with the Portland Trail Blazers and obtained him in a sign-and-trade with the Orlando Magic. They also traded for Antoine Wright and Marco Belinelli, while Bosh's former Georgia Tech team-mate and then-Indiana point guard Jarrett Jack was also signed as a free agent. Reggie Evans, Amir Johnson, Sonny Weems and former Raptors Rasho Nesterovič and Pops Mensah-Bonsu were acquired in separate transactions to add front court depth. They opened their season with a win against the heavily favored Cleveland Cavaliers, in which Bosh scored 21 points and pulled down 16 rebounds. Bosh went on a tear, averaging 25.4 points and 11.9 rebounds in the first 16 games, but the Raptors were only able to win seven of those games. In that period, Bosh was also the league leader in rebounds, rebounds per game, free throws made and attempted, and double doubles.
The Raptors crossed into 2010 with a 16–17 record, and on January 3, 2010, Bosh overtook Vince Carter as Toronto's all-time leader in total points scored. After pulling together a string of wins, Toronto were .500 after 40 games, and Bosh remained the league leader in double doubles, being only one of two players in the league who averaged at least 20 points and 10 rebounds a game. On January 20, 2010, he scored a career-high 44 points in a loss against the Milwaukee Bucks, while collecting his 220th career double double. That same month, Bosh was named a reserve for the Eastern Conference All-Star team, and was Eastern Conference Player of the Week. After the All-Star break, the Raptors went on several losing streaks and injuries to Bosh and Türkoğlu exacerbated the situation. As the regular season came to a close, the Raptors went from being the fifth seed before the All-Star break to fighting for the eighth and final playoff spot with the Chicago Bulls. After recording his 44th double double on March 22, 2010, Bosh became the Raptors' all-time leader in number of double doubles in a season. On April 5, 2010, he was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week, winning the honor for the seventh time in his career (tying Carter for the most in franchise history). However, Bosh was unable to play in a pivotal match against the Bulls on April 11, 2010. The blowout loss cost Toronto their tie-breaker and ultimately the eighth seed, as the Bulls finished with 41 wins to Toronto's 40.
2010 Free Agency and Signing with the Miami Heat
After the 2009–10 season was over, there was much speculation over whether coveted free agents such as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Bosh would sign with new teams. Bosh was active on the social media front, posting his thoughts on Twitter and having a documentary crew record his meetings with the teams interested in signing him. On July 9, 2010, Bosh officially completed a sign-and-trade deal with the Heat, teaming up with Wade and James. His parting message to the Raptors on his website said: "know that this was my toughest decision, mostly because Toronto has been so great to me. I've loved every minute here and I just wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart to the Raptors..." Later, Bosh did voice his frustration about his days as a Toronto Raptor saying, "I have seven years to make up for..." and that his experience in Toronto was "different." After the trade, Raptors President and G.M. questioned Bosh's work ethic late in the season, stating, “whether he was mentally checked out or just wasn't quite into it down the stretch, he wasn't the same guy. I think everybody saw that, but no one wanted to acknowledge it.” Bosh leaves Toronto as its all-time leader in virtually all major statistical categories, he was one of only three players in the league who had chalked up 10,000 points, 4,500 rebounds, and 600 blocks in the seven seasons he was with the Raptors.
Besides his on-the-court exploits, Bosh was a National Honor Society member and graduated with honors from Lincoln. He is also a member of the National Society of Black Engineers and the Dallas Association of Minority Engineers. Following his success in the NBA, Bosh soon had his own YouTube channel, and has since made various TV appearances. In December 2009, First Ink, a DVD featuring comedic digital shorts and a documentary about Bosh was released. The DVD was filmed during the summer of 2009.
In the field of philanthropy, given that he was only a few years removed from a childhood not without its financial challenges, Bosh established the Chris Bosh Foundation in 2004. The Foundation's website describes the Foundation as "a non-profit organization promoting social enrichment, education and physical fitness among youth. The Foundation assists youth in reaching the educational and athletic goals they set through mentoring and setting examples in the community." The Foundation, with programs in Toronto and Dallas, has worked closely with organizations such as the Toronto Special Olympics to raise important funding for community projects. Bosh's mother, Freida, is the CEO of the Foundation. As an avid reader, Bosh also regularly speaks to groups of Toronto children about the benefits of reading, and has received the NBA Community Assist Award for his active contributions for the Raptors community development program in Toronto and Dallas during the course of the NBA campaign. In November 2008, Bosh pledged to donate $75,000 to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Canada.
On March 24, 2009, it was reported that Bosh's former girlfriend, Allison Mathis, was seeking child support and sole custody of their child. Mathis alleged that when she was seven months pregnant, Bosh stopped supporting her financially and tried to remove her from their home. Three days later, it was reported that the dispute was only over the amount Bosh paid. Mathis' lawyer also told the press, "My client very much wanted this dispute to remain private. Certainly this thing did not get started by anything on our side... She is very distressed that somehow this thing got into the newspapers. She wants Trinity to have a good relationship with her dad, Chris Bosh, and adverse publicity makes that more difficult."