Miami Heat Hall of Fame Finalist: ‘I Still Wanted to Be Playing’

Chris Bosh

Getty Former Miami Heat center Chris Bosh retired in 2017 way before he wanted to call it a career.

If it had been up to Chris Bosh, the 36-year-old would still be taking his turn in the Miami Heat lay-up line. Maybe next to 40-year-old Udonis Haslem in a similar type of mentor role.

That’s not the case after the Heat released him from his contract in 2017 and, under guidance from the NBA, eventually forced him into retirement despite his wishes to keep playing. It was a complicated situation, with Miami simply looking out for the big man’s health. Bosh was first diagnosed with a life-threatening blood clot in 2015, then a second blot clot made a comeback non-negotiable.

Now the 13-year NBA veteran has been named a finalist for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame’s Class of 2021. He joined ESPN’s “The Jump” earlier this week to discuss the milestone — Bosh is going to get in and should have been a first-ballot selection — and talk about his hastened retirement.

Words can’t really describe [it]. I really didn’t know what was going on today. I was kind of just going about my regular day and — I mean, I’m actually speechless, this doesn’t happen much — but I’m so appreciative. Everything that I’ve tried to give to the game of basketball and everything that basketball has done for me … I mean, it’s amazing. You know having my career — I still wanted to be playing to this day, but everything doesn’t happen the way we want it to — but we have to make do with what we have and I’m just so appreciative and so thankful, just for the opportunity to play the game and all those who helped me get here.

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Bosh Fought the NBA to Keep Playing

Some people forget that Bosh made the All-Star for 11 consecutive seasons, including his last one in South Beach. He averaged 19.1 points, 7.4 rebounds, 2.4 assists during the 2015-16 season before blood clots shut him down. He saw action in just 97 games over his final two years in the league.

Bosh tried to fight the NBA and return to the court for nearly three years after the Heat released him. He released a series of videos stating his case while seeking legal counsel and private medical teams.

“I was playing, I was working out every day,” Bosh told GQ magazine in 2019. “The season before last I was in the best shape I had been in since the 2011-12 season when we won our first championship. I was motivated.”

The NBA wouldn’t clear him to play. And no franchise wanted to sign a “two-time survivor of blood clots, living on a full-time regimen of blood thinners.” It was too risky (see: Jerome Kersey). Finally, Bosh stopped fighting back and the Heat retired his No. 1 jersey in 2019.

LeBron James Congratulates Bosh

LeBron James went on the record a long time ago saying those two Miami Heat championships in 2012 and 2013 wouldn’t have been possible without Bosh’s tough contributions. So when James heard the announcement about his good friend being a finalist for the shrine in Springfield, MA, he shouted Bosh out on Instagram and said: “Yessir my brother!!!!! Well Deserved.” Dwyane Wade also sent his own good tidings on social media.


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