The Miami Heat honored Chris Bosh retiring his No.1 jersey Tuesday night when hosting the Orlando Magic.
I could not help but think of two things in the middle of the revered night for the 11-time All-Star, who played six of his 13 NBA seasons with the Heat and won two championships.
One, Bosh was an extremely talented player, two the Heat during the Big Three Era from 2010-2014 seasons were extremely good.
In the middle of Wade’s one last dance tour, signifying his final season with the Heat, Bosh’s No.1 was raised up the rafters of AmericanAirlines Arena in a halftime ceremony where it can dwell with the jerseys of Heat greats Alonzo Mourning, Tim Hardaway, and Shaquille O’Neal — and will one day be joined by Wade, Udonis Haslem and I would be shocked if not LeBron James.
Tonight was not the first time Bosh has been around the game of basketball since a blood clot in his leg forced him to miss time following the 2016 All-Star break. The Heat organization advised him to sit out the rest of the season and playoffs because of the potential dangers of the recurring medical condition.
“I’ve been back to watch a few heat games about four-five this year,” Bosh shared pregame. “I’ve been to Madison Square Garden, I’ve been to the Staples Center, attended the All-Star game last year. It has been cool to reconnect, being able to walk the old hallways and not have to get up early, listen to Spo lecture us on the rotations of the Miami Heat defense, it is a grind, it has been great being able to celebrate this moment.”
Drafted 4th overall in the 2003 NBA Draft by the Toronto Raptors where he spends his first seven seasons, under the radar. Then he joined James and Wade to form the Heat’s Big 3 in the summer of 2010; his stats would take a hit as the third option on a team perennially contending for titles. His points per game from his time in Toronto to playing for the Heat went from 20.2 to 18, the rebounds from 9.4 to 7.3.
“Of course, I was underrated,” Bosh said. “I had to change my game. It was kind of an interesting journey.”
There was a game played.
Nikola Vucevic scored 24 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, Jonathan Issac added 19 and the Magic extended their longest winning streak in eight years to six games by topping the Heat 104-99.
Orlando crushed Miami on the backboards, outrebounding the Heat 55-39.
Dion Waiters scored 26 points for Miami. Wade scored 22 points, and Josh Richardson contributed 17 for the Heat, who are guaranteed of a losing home record this season — they’re 17-21 with three games left in the 3-0-5.
Bosh overshadowed the Heat loss.
Bosh, who turned 35 on Sunday, shared playing for the last time in 2016 would have been the last thing from his mind.
“I didn’t even think of retirement,” the Texas Mr. Baseball recipient said. “I was more so concentrated on what was next for the team, what was next for myself, the next practice the next day, the next game, to get better. That was my mindset at the time.
Bosh was part of one of the most significant plays in Heat history. Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals between the San Antonio Spurs and the Heat was one of the most exciting games in NBA history. But one big moment from that game — Ray Allen’s huge three to keep Miami’s championship hopes alive and to push the game into overtime. Bosh grabbed the offensive rebound to give Allen the attempt. That one assist arguably signifies Bosh’s value to the Heat in that era.
“All though we all do something and get to experience things you have to cherish it because you never know when it is going to stop,” Bosh shared.
The Heat would go on a 27-game winning streak between February 3, 2013, and March 27, 2013. Defeating Orlando in the season finale set the franchise record for 66 wins in a season. By the end of the season, the Heat won 18 of its 19 road games, the best streak on the road to end a season in NBA history. The Heat went 17–1 in March, becoming the first team to win 17 games in a single calendar month. The Heat ended with a franchise-best and league-best 66–16 record to take the 1st seed in the 2013 NBA Playoffs.
“I remember the camaraderie the fun times,” Bosh said. “The older guys say you are going to remember the bus rides and it is true. Those were the times’ guys were trying to figure things out, picking guys up when guys were down, usually getting through the tough moments, having those moments of vulnerability with some of the best that has ever played the game and shared those experiences.
The Heat are now 2-2 in jersey-retirement games. They won when retiring jerseys for Shaquille O’Neal and Tim Hardaway, but lost when hoisting one for Alonzo Mourning — also against Orlando, and also in the 74th Heat game of the season, just like Tuesday night.
Joined by his family and wearing his two championship rings, Bosh sat at midcourt during the halftime ceremony. The current heat team stayed on the court. Wade shared his moments; Bosh thanked every hardworking Heat fan who is part of Heat Nation, Heat president Pat Riley called the jersey to be lifted.
“There were going to be emotions that I can’t put into words; I hope I don’t cry that’s all,” Bosh said. “It is a tremendous honor. It is crazy to dream something for so long then it manifest in real life. It is a crazy, crazy thing.”
Leading up to the No.1 jersey being retired, Bosh announced that he was no longer pursuing his NBA career.
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)