Chris Bosh on Raptors fans, NBA playoff drama and athletes showing emotion

Chris Bosh looks back fondly on his time in Toronto. (Getty)

Welcome to “At Large with Alex Wong,” a podcast where I’ll be sitting down with athletes, celebrities, media personalities and generally interesting people to dive beyond the surface and find out who these people really are.

On this episode, I’m joined by Chris Bosh to reminisce about his seven seasons with the Toronto Raptors, talk about the 2018-19 NBA playoffs, why he admires Joel Embiid for showing his emotions after a Game 7 loss, and much more.

You can listen to the full episode here:

On what he knew about Toronto when he was drafted: I wasn’t very open at the time to tell you the truth to doing new things and trying new things. I was worried to be honest with you. When I first got drafted, I was like, I don’t want to go to another country. I’m 19. They picked me at four and you go into a situation that you don’t know nothing about. As I got there, I got acclimated, and things became cool, I started making friends. Less than six months later, I was like, man, I don’t know what I was thinking before, this is a great place.

On playing with T.J. Ford and Jose Calderon: T.J. and Jose were great. I had known T.J. for awhile, he’s from Texas as well. We were actually trying to play together for quite some time. We were able to link up. When Jose came in, nobody gave him a chance. He couldn’t shoot. He couldn’t speak English [laughs]. Over the course of one season, he got tremendously better. A great guy, phenomenal teammate, phenomenal point guard, and just a good person. He made it really easy to just to come and play because he had the right attitude. He competed. It’s funny I saw Jose sitting courtside during Game 7 against the Sixers. We called him amigo. I was like look at amigo.

On coming back to Toronto earlier this season and receiving an ovation: It was important to me. It was one of the most important things. You give your blood, sweat and tears, all that cliche stuff, and you really just go for it and compete, and it didn’t work out. I tried my best. I went on to make a decision that led to a championship, but that didn’t make it easy. It was still a very tough and difficult decision. I had my friends there. My life was there. My home was there. I was stepping into a cool situation, but it was still brand new nonetheless. For me, you know, it was very, very important. I gave everything to it, and I hope the fans just felt it, and enjoyed it, and appreciated it. That was all I ever wanted.

On Joel Embiid crying after Game 7 and whether we’re better now at accepting athletes showing emotion after a loss: It’s so demanding being an athlete. We go through so much. You lose a dramatic game and it hurts. That’s what people don’t understand, it hurts. To be criticized, and you still have a chance to come out on top and you don’t, and all you were visualizing was you guys winning, that’s all it was. He’s young. I relate on that because man, it hurts. It was gut wrenching pain and it hurts. You can’t believe it. It’s unfair. It’s not right and all these things. People give you a rough time about it, it’s crazy.

On whether he found closure after his jersey retirement ceremony in Miami: You know what, I had found closure well before that. Before this season started, a part of me knew I wasn’t going to play again. I was kinda on the fence more so on the not playing side. I was still kind of forcing it, and people kept asking me. But it’s been a couple of years, and I accepted everything before the jersey retirement. I think it was not closure, but more so of a new era for me, a reawakening, doing something different, moving on with my life, like yeah, that chapter is closed and I can move on and do things and it was more so for the public eye to see that, and I don’t have to be in my room, be in my house, be in my head, thinking am I going to play again? What if people ask me? It was a major relief for me to move on to the next thing.

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