Chris Bosh embodied the Heat’s collective emotions when he collapsed in the tunnel leading to the locker room after Dallas won Game 6 and the NBA championship on Miami’s home court.
The Heat was humbled, overwhelmed and temporarily incapacitated. It took the team’s most honest player to express the anguish.
Suddenly, the season was over. The air gushed out of Bosh, and he fainted to the floor. It wasn’t so much a letdown as a crash.
“I haven’t experienced that pain in a very long time,” Bosh said. “To be so close and work so hard and come up short, it just got to me. It took over me.
“I’m not an emotional guy. I couldn’t help it. I got it out of me and feel a lot better.”
Bosh spoke Tuesday during the Heat’s postmortem as Mavericks owner Mark Cuban offered to pay for the city’s celebratory parade and Ohio Gov. John Kasich issued a resolution commending the Mavs for their teamwork and Dirk Nowitzki for re-signing last summer and “remaining loyal to the team, city and fans for whom he played his entire career.”
More salt on the wounds of Heat players and coach Erik Spoelstra, who admitted it will take weeks before they can function normally. Even then, the back of their minds will remain littered with What-Ifs.
“You play things over and over in your head,” Wade said. “There was only one season where I left feeling complete, so it never gets easier.”
For Bosh, who had never made it past the first round of the playoffs with the Toronto Raptors, this was a season that stretched his horizons. It was a test of his credibility as an NBA force, and he passed with stellar grades.
Bosh had the most to lose by joining Wade and LeBron James to form the Big 3.
He left behind his big-fish-in-small-pond comfort zone. He had to adapt his game to being the third wheel.
Like James, he got showered with criticism. When he struggled, the Heat’s alliance was called the Big 2.5.
Bosh tends to talk not in polished, predictable sound bytes but in an earnest, unedited manner. It’s like you’re sitting with him in cushy chairs at Starbuck’s and he’s letting his thoughts flow.
Because of his personality and his feathery jump shot, he got stuck with the soft label, which was unfair.
Bosh floats rather than chugs down the court like most power forwards, but he steadily clawed up the learning curve this season and we saw more of his fearsome dunks and chest-pounding reactions.
Spoelstra said Bosh is one of the most competitive athletes he ever has coached, and that includes Alonzo Mourning. Bosh had 28 double-doubles during the regular season, just three fewer than James.
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