TORONTO -- Chris Bosh is laughing a little bit when he’s asked what it’s like to walk into the Air Canada Centre with a championship to his name.
“I never thought about that too much,” he said, before the Miami Heat took down the Toronto Raptors 100-85 on Sunday.
Spending the better part of his decade-long professional career in this building, Bosh’s mark on the Raptors has outlived his stay in Toronto.
A small selection of his accolades with Canada’s sole NBA team; the most minutes played at 18,813, the most points at 10,275. He sits atop the chart for most rebounds by nearly 2,000 boards.
Though he brought a face to the Toronto franchise when he was drafted in 2003, he couldn’t add the most coveted line of a player’s résumé to his own until he took his talents south.
“I don’t really pay much attention to it,” Bosh said. “[An NBA championship] is a huge accomplishment and everything, but I’ve always figured that it doesn’t define who I am as a player.”
He doesn’t expect a Toronto fan base, still hungry for any winning franchise across the professional sports spectrum, to see him any differently than he sees himself after taking the title with the Heat in 2012.
“It’s just like any other time I come here,” Bosh said. “I get excited, and I just want to have a good game.”
Regardless of the time that’s passed since he joined the Miami roster in 2010, he opened the scoring for the Heat to an overwhelmingly negative response from the Toronto crowd.
Resounding boos heard from every direction, top to bottom, despite a strong showing of Miami fans in the building.
“We understand that when we come into a hostile environment, a former home of one of our brothers, it gets personal,” Udonis Haslem said. “We want to go out and get the win for that guy.”
Haslem doesn’t have the experience firsthand.
The Miami-native has always had a place in the Heat locker room at AmericanAirlines Arena, but he relishes in the opportunity for the team to grow closer through these challenges on the road.
Through 33 minutes, Bosh was 12 for 19 from the field, posting 28 points in the victory.
And like Haslem pointed out, this Heat team collectively rises to the occasion, even when things look grim.
Dragging a deficit into the second half, the Heat turned a four-point lead at the end of the third quarter into a commanding run in the final frame.
Miami outscored Toronto 29-18 in the fourth, with 13 coming from Bosh.
He tallied his 13th game this season with 20-plus points, and added five rebounds.
Not surprisingly, coach Erik Spoelstra called his starting center terrific.
"We’ve been a fan of his since draft night," Spoelstra said.
With 3:54 left in Sunday’s game and Bosh at the free throw line, the boos might not have been as loud as they were for that first bucket, but they were still there.
He’s still a little surprised at the reaction nearly three years after his departure from a city he admits without hesitation that he loves and misses.
“Love that city life,” Bosh said. “It’s a very unique place; nowhere else like it.”