TORONTO — Despite having pulled out of both Saturday evening’s three-point shootout and Sunday’s big mid-season classic with a calf injury, Miami Heat forward and former Toronto Raptors face of the franchise Chris Bosh took part in Saturday afternoon’s Eastern Conference all-star practice.
It’s been six years since Bosh left Toronto in free agency to join LeBron James and Dwyane Wade in South Beach, but if you were in Ricoh Coliseum when he was first introduced, you’d think Bosh had just skipped town yesterday.
NBA All-Star Toronto LIVE: One-stop shop for latest news, videos, photos & more
The 11-time all-star was serenaded by a sea of boos (mixed in with a little polite applause).
Toronto clearly has not forgiven Bosh for leaving, despite his distinction as the franchise’s all-time leader in points, rebounds and minutes played.
“That’s the passion. There’s some feeling there,” Bosh said of his cold reception. “I think the time that I had here was amazing.
“It was [also] a struggle. I wish we could’ve won more games and had more chances to be in the playoffs, but we didn’t. The fans were great, they received me well. It really jumpstarted my career and I had a lot of success here but we didn’t have the team success we wanted.”
Bosh’s former Raptors teammate and second-time all-star DeMar DeRozan also expressed some disappointment in how his hometown fans treated Bosh.
“To me, I feel the fans shouldn’t boo Chris,” DeRozan said after the practice. “He did a lot for the city and he made his decision. He moved on and now we have a new era of Toronto Raptors basketball. So appreciate that and appreciate what you had before.”
While Bosh is now pretty used to the vitriol that comes his way whenever he’s back in Toronto, he’s still disappointed injury is keeping him out of this weekend’s activities.
“It’s a bummer man. I’ve been kind of down a little bit for the past couple of days, but I’m here and I still get to take in and enjoy what I can,” Bosh said. “I was really looking forward to competing tonight because that was such a unique opportunity for me, but there’s nothing I can do.”
This is a sentiment shared by DeRozan.
“I wanted a chance to get out there and play with him again and just have fun, but health is always a [concern].”
So once again Bosh was booed upon coming back to Toronto. It’s nothing new, but you’d think for an all-star event he’d finally be cut some slack.
That ended up being wishful thinking, at best.