Ethan J. Skolnick

Ethan J. Skolnick: Miami Heat’s Chris Bosh an All-Star Game scratch — just hours after saying he’s itching to play

Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh holds up a jersey for the NBA All-Star Game, presented to him before the start of a game against the San Antonio Spurs, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, in Miami.
Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh holds up a jersey for the NBA All-Star Game, presented to him before the start of a game against the San Antonio Spurs, Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2016, in Miami. AP

If he was acting, it was a performance that trumped any of his online work in Tall Justice or his sitcom appearances on shows such as Go On or Jessie or Parks and Recreation.

Wearing a scarf and a smile, Chris Bosh spoke passionately during Friday’s media availability about how playing in this particular All-Star Game, the 11th of his NBA career but first in the city he represented for his first seven years, was “a huge goal for me coming into this season. I wanted it pretty bad. It was the first one here, outside the United States. I wanted to be a part of that. Me having a connection with this city, I wanted to have that for my own personal reasons, just to be able to tell my kids, yeah, I accomplished that too.”

Then, less than three hours after Bosh left the podium, with no noticeable limp, news leaked that he would sit out both Saturday’s Three-Point Shootout and Sunday’s All-Star Game due to a strained calf. No further details were given by the Heat about the origin or extent of the injury, though, in a statement, Bosh said that he would remain in Toronto to “support my fellow East All-Stars.” Bosh also is co-hosting a charity bowling tournament with Dwyane Wade on Saturday.

Atlanta center Al Horford was selected to replace Bosh in the All-Star Game, and Portland guard C.J. McCollum will take Bosh’s place in the Three-Point Shootout.

The injury news raised some initial concern because Bosh has repeatedly stated that he believed a calf injury led to the blood clot in his lung that was discovered after he played in the 2015 All-Star Game in New York.

That ailment ultimately ended his season.

A source, however, told the Miami Herald that there is no such concern this time, and the calf injury is not deemed serious. Bosh and the Heat just decided, over the course of the day, not to take any chances — not with 29 games left in the season, Miami sitting fifth in the East standings, and a challenging slate of opponents ahead. The Heat reopens play Feb. 19 in Atlanta, followed by a home date against the Wizards.

And so everything else he said at the podium?

That he didn’t know if he would get booed or cheered by the local fans, who haven’t been especially kind since 2010, but he just hoped “that the announcer gets my name right”? That he’d only practiced once for the Three-Point Shootout, and made all 25 shots, but the world couldn’t see that warm-up because he didn’t want to intimidate the competition? That he was looking forward to playing with both Wade and LeBron James again, because the “further we get removed” from the Heat’s Big Three era, “the more special it was”?

That, as it turned out, was the most entertaining work he’ll provide this weekend.

▪ With the Basketball Hall of Fame changing its rule to allow players to be eligible just four years after they retire, rather than five, former Heat point guard Tim Hardaway was knocked off the finalist list for the first time in five years. Shaquille O’Neal, an automatic for induction, is the one finalist with Heat ties.

▪ Bosh was asked if he considered James to be a coach-killer. “No, he’s not a coach-killer,” Bosh said. “He’s not any of those things. He helps situations. And he’s one of the best teammates I’ve ever had.”

Ethan J. Skolnick: 305-376-3483, @ethanjskolnick

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