Miami Heat retires Chris Bosh’s jersey
More than two hours later and almost 3,000 miles from AmericanAirlines Arena, where the Miami Heat retired Chris Bosh’s No. 1, LeBron James finished up a 124-106 win for the Los Angeles Lakers against the Washington Wizards at Staples Center. The forward couldn’t be in Miami on Tuesday, so he had to share his public message about Bosh on the 12-time All-Star’s big night through a TV camera in Los Angeles.
TNT’s Caron Butler tracked James down after the final whistle to ask him about his game and what happened in Florida for one of the other members of the Big 3.
“I thought about almost taking this game off and flying to Miami for the ceremony, but the NBA been on my ass about taking games off in the past, so I ain’t want to touch that,” James said in a postgame interview on TNT. “Chris Bosh is a brother to me. I love everything about him. Obviously, we all in this league have seen the player, from out of Georgia Tech what he turned into, but, more importantly, the man that he is, man. His family, what he stands for, what he preaches, it was just an honor to be with him for four years, it was an honor for me to come into the league in ‘03 with him and it’s an honor to still be a brother of his and to be able to send a text to him before we played tonight. I let him know how proud I am of him and how well-deserved seeing his jersey go up in the rafters in South Beach.”
Bosh’s jersey retirement Tuesday brought reactions from across the NBA world, players and coaches reflecting on the type of player Bosh was, and the type of person he still is.
Orlando Magic coach Steve Clifford talked about Bosh’s legacy after the game. Coach Erik Spoelstra talked about his former star post player over and over again. Any Heat player who had something to say about Miami’s 104-99 loss to the Magic on Tuesday also had something to say about Bosh, including Dwyane Wade.
“It was great, man, just seeing CB up there and the words that he said, what this meant to him and his family, what he meant to this organization, what he means to this organization,” Wade said in the locker room after the game. “It’s special, so I’m thankful that I was able to be here, I’m thankful I was able to be a part of it, so well deserved.”
Bosh got some playful barbs in at Wade’s expense, which the guard said was fitting.
“That’s our relationship. That’s what we do,” Wade said. “He’s always lighthearted, he’s always fun. When you’ve won two championships with guys, you have a bond that’s so special it can’t be broken, so it was his day, it was his moment, so whatever he said, we was going to roll with it.
Wade is a relative outlier on the current roster as someone who played for an extended period of time with Bosh. Most of the younger members of the team only got a season or two with the two-time champion, if that.
Goran Dragic is one such player. The Phoenix Suns traded Dragic to the Heat at the trade deadline in 2015, just before Bosh’s career-ending blood-clot issue popped up. They ultimately played parts of two seasons together before Bosh was forced into retirement.
“It was a special night for CB and his family,” Dragic said after the game. “I’m really happy and honored to know him as a player, and a person. We didn’t play much together, but everybody knows what he brings to the game and how he was dominant at his position. Fully deserving in terms of his jersey retirement and, of course, first-ballot Hall of Famer.”
Bosh spoke for 12 minutes at halftime — a break which lasted 36 minutes when factoring in additional speeches from Wade and president Pat Riley. Bosh’s engrossing speech, which he punctuated with some of his signature yelling, electrified the crowd, but Miami blew a halftime lead after players and coaches sat on the court for the entire ceremony.
After the loss, Spoelstra was quick to say there was no correlation between the extended halftime and the second-half struggles.
“It had nothing to do with what a terrific halftime that was,” Spoelstra said at his postgame press conference, “but the start of the third quarter, they just got back into the game so quickly. It was just bucket, bucket, bucket and then we we weren’t executing with great force or detail, and then it just became a grind from there.”
Still, Dion Waiters wished the Heat could have finished off Bosh’s night by giving him a critical win to watch.
“You always want to cap it off with a win,” the swingman said after the game. “It would’ve been huge. Congratulations to CB. Well deserved for him and all his family. I just wish we could’ve gotten the win. The night would have been that much more special.”