Falling short of an NBA championship in 2011 was not part of the plan for LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the Miami Heat. But it may have been exactly what the NBA’s super-team needed to truly become a dynasty, starting with a title in 2012.
Here is the cover story from our newest issue – Dime #68 – on the Miami Heat and great expectations…
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First, we’ll look at the last one.
The man who, once upon a time, represented the NBA for an entire country as the face of the league’s only Canadian franchise. The man whose career numbers mirror basketball legends, yet to call forth his name in a Hall of Fame discussion could get you laughed out of barbershops from Oakland to Orlando. The man who should, by all rights, be today what David Robinson was yesterday – intelligent and iconic, as graceful on the court as he is gracious off of it – but still can’t catch a break with a demanding and increasingly hypocritical public.
He’s No. 1 in your program, No. 3 in the trinity. Ladies and gentlemen: Chris Bosh.
In the traveling super-group that is the Miami Heat, Bosh is the unsung yet unexpendable bass player. The 6-11 power forward stands firmly outside of the spotlight created by his two more famous teammates, small forward LeBron James and shooting guard Dwyane Wade, making beautiful music that only true connoisseurs of the form can fully appreciate. If LeBron and D-Wade are the Wesley Snipes and Denzel Washington in this Mo’ Better Blues remake, Bosh is Bill Nunn, the big man in the background pulling everything together and making this collection of remarkable talent an actual band.
Through the first third of this truncated 66-game NBA season, Bosh averaged 19.7 points and 7.7 rebounds, connecting on 50 percent of his field goals and 82 percent of his free throws. During a January stretch in which Wade was in and out of the lineup with injuries, Bosh put up four games of 30-plus points and four games of double-digit rebounds. He owned the fourth quarter of a Jan. 24 win over Cleveland, scoring 17 in the final frame and finishing with 35 points. The next night, late in the fourth quarter at Detroit, Bosh turned a two-point Miami deficit into a three-point lead with a pair of reverse layups and a free throw, then forced Pistons center Greg Monroe into a critical miss that helped preserve a win for the Heat.
So far, while Wade struggled to stay healthy and James still struggled to score in the fourth quarter, Bosh was the most consistently productive member of a team that at press time owned the second-best record (18-6) in the Eastern Conference, and was picked by 74 percent of NBA general managers in a preseason poll to win the 2012 NBA championship.
And look at where it gets him.
“When you say ‘big’ to me, I think of certain players … (Bosh) doesn’t fit in with those certain players,” said future Hall of Fame center Shaquille O’Neal earlier this season in his new gig as TNT studio analyst. “Don’t get me wrong, I respect his game and he’s a great player, but part of the ‘Big Three’? No way. Dominant big man? No way.”