This sucks. I don’t want to write this. I want Chris Bosh to play for five more years and make the Hall of Fame five four years after that; I want him to tutor Hassan Whiteside on weak-side defensive rotations, and work the perfect pick-and-roll with Goran Dragic; I want Chris Bosh to shoot over 40 percent from three as he becomes the best all-around stretch five in NBA history; I want Chris Bosh to host LeBron James and Dwyane Wade the night before the Cavs and Bulls are in town this coming season; I want to dance with Chris Bosh at DIME on UPROXX’s party in New Orleans before he plays in the All-Star Game; I want Chris Bosh to play the game he loves at the highest level in the land. But I want Chris Bosh to be alive more than I want all of those things.
In Bosh’s first Uninterrupted episode released on Tuesday, he tweeted a question: “What would you do if you couldn’t do what you love?”
It’s a good question to ask because Chris Bosh, without question, LOVES basketball. Except, without dancing around the conclusion staring us all in the face, Bosh most of all, Chris Bosh should retire. I’ll use myself as a case study.
I love my job. I love that I get to make a living writing about basketball. Writing is hard, but basketball makes that daily, anxiety-ridden struggle worth it. I love basketball — specifically the NBA, which is the best basketball in the world; I love playing basketball; I love watching basketball, and I love writing about it. If I couldn’t do any of those things, I don’t know what I’d do.
If someone told me that when I watched hoops, or played basketball, or wrote about my favorite sport, I might actually die, I would find something else to do. Sure, I’d be beyond bummed out, and I might not ever be as happy as I am right now, but I’d get over it. I have no desire to leave this mortal coil anytime soon — it’s why I gave up hooch half a decade ago and haven’t owned a car in over 15 years (the two aren’t unrelated). I don’t think I’m alone, either. People, for the most part, like being alive. I think Chris Bosh feels the same way, and I’m not writing that in some sardonic attempt to shame him into prioritizing what’s important. I’m merely pointing out an obvious fact germane to this situation: People wanna live.
I don’t think Chris Bosh has a death wish, I just think he really loves basketball, and he’s going to find any way possible to play despite recurring blood clots that had Heat doctors telling him in February of this year his career was “probably over.”
Except, Chris Bosh is also my type of guy. Not only did he exemplify the sort of sacrifice NBA stars talk about, but rarely practice, during the Big Three era in Miami, but he’s also the kind of person who isn’t going to let doctors or anyone else tell him what he can and can’t do. He loves basketball, he’s going to play again in the NBA if he can. Even, unfortunately, if I’m imploring him not to.
“If a doctor tells me this is how it is and I don’t buy that, then I think I have the right to disagree with you,” Bosh said in his debut for Uninterrupted. “I know inside me I have a lot of talent, a lot of ability. I know I have it. It’s not a matter of if I’m going to play again, it’s when. So I took the bull by the horn.”
It’s hard that one of the very characteristics that makes me love Chris Bosh as much as I do, might also be what spells his doom.
Except, there have been plenty of professional athletes who have played on blood thinners, and SB Nation recently gave a nice rundown of all of them. One, was a baseball pitcher who only played once every five days. One, was an English Premier League soccer player who was only seeing 90 minutes of action once or twice a week. Back-to-backs are a staple of the NBA season, which means teams can sometimes have three or four games in a week’s time, with subsequent travel between those games.
Theoretically, Bosh could play on blood thinners that leave the body faster than usual. These anticoagulants would prevent the clotting that’s already endangered his life twice, but they’d also affect his on-court abilities. He could do it, so long as he was given the proper amount of time to rest and let the drugs cycle back out of his system. He might have to miss the second night of back-to-backs or some other stipulation before Heat doctors give him the okay. And Heat doctors might still not give him the okay, which I’m — unfortunately — okay with.
Training camp starts for the Heat in less than a week (Sept. 27), and they’ve got a big decision on their hands. Bosh has already said he’d appeal to the Players’ Union if the Heat doctors don’t give him clearance to suit up. He’s got doctors who will, so chances are we’re going to see Chris Bosh back on an NBA court at some point. But I hope we don’t.
This piece isn’t going to convince Chris Bosh to retire. In fact, I doubt he even reads it. But if he does, I want to address him directly here.
Chris. I love you. That’s not just some throwaway line; I really do care for you, and I’m not alone. Millions of basketball fans all over the world love you and respect your game. Some might poke fun at your video bombs, and make memes of you, but the love for you is real. I know I feel it when I talk about your situation with other NBA fans. And that love extends well beyond the basketball court, too.
I want you to be around for a long time, and I’d rather the joy of seeing you on an NBA hardwood be taken away than risk having you, the person, taken away completely. It’s that simple. I want you to cook up some delicacies with your family and make cameos on TV shows; I want you to voice Marvel’s Hulk; I want you to design a downtown Miami building; I want you to keep giving back; I want you to go on TV to talk about basketball (you will absolutely get a TV offer should you retire); I want to see you live a long and fruitful life, one where I can hear about you for the next 40 or 50 years.
Because of this, I want you to retire from the game you love. It’s not an easy thing to ask you to do because I know how much you love basketball, but that’s just how much I want you around.
I know you aren’t going to retire, and it’s part of why I love you. But I’m still asking you to do just that.