I’ve done it, you’ve done it, we’ve all done it.
Everybody has made fun of Chris Bosh and his seemingly feminine mannerisms at some point. He’s an easy target, always getting caught awkwardly in photographs and probably can’t even help it. Somewhere along the line most of those jokes became shrouded in homophobia and sexist undertones, then outright homophobia.
“I’ve read it all,” Bosh told ESPN’s Tom Haberstroh in a fantastic piece for the network’s website.
The ones that cut the deepest? The barbs that called him soft, often cloaked in veiled misogyny and homophobia.
“That’s the venom,” Bosh says. “For a while, they were questioning my sexuality. They still do. They were questioning my sexuality, questioning my game. And I’m like, ‘Why are they all messing with me?’ I didn’t do anything to anybody. I didn’t do nothing. I just came here to play basketball. And they’re like, ‘Oh, he’s not a real superstar.’ I never cared about being a superstar.”
When he doesn’t come down with a rebound, “Christina Bosh” floods his Twitter mentions. He was nicknamed “Bosh Spice.” Someone dunked on him? What a woman.
“What am I supposed to do?” Bosh says. “You want me to have cornrows and tats on my neck and just punch somebody in the face when they score on me? It’s crazy. It’s impossible. I can’t do that and play. That’s never been who I am.”
Bosh brings up several interesting points. The first of which is why Bosh? Why pick on the supposed third fiddle of the Heatles? Bosh has altered his game more than LeBron or Wade ever have in their four year journey, and, in many ways, is the Heat’s most important player.
Not only that but he has been exceptional in his time in Miami, knocking down huge shots, making series saving defensive plays and being the piece in the middle that allows the team to play its maddening blitzing style of defense that has stymied countless offensive attacks. If he didn’t have a knack for “feminine” body language and being in compromising positions in photos we would see that he has been a star in Miami.
His second point is just as intriguing. What should the alternative be for Bosh? To be a “thug,” or some type of “goon?” Not only would that be completely out of character for the articulate and proven intellectual Bosh, but why is that the desired attitude of someone in his situation? Richard Sherman was lambasted and defended for two weeks after a passionate post-game interview. If Bosh had reacted similarly the criticism would probably be worse than it already is now.
Bosh is in a lose-lose, but maybe in the long run when nostalgia carves off ruff edges of our memories we will remember Bosh as what he truly is. A winner, a champion, an All-Star and probably a Hall of Famer. Or we will have years of gay jokes to recite again, who knows.