Chris Bosh reflects on Raptors: ‘Toronto made me feel welcome’

Chris Bosh as a member of the Toronto Raptors in February 2010. (Chris Young/CP)

Although his exit made him a franchise villain in the eyes of many fans, Chris Bosh looks back at his time in Toronto fondly.

In a pair of recent videos from LeBron James’ Uninterrupted video production company to help promote the “The Carter Effect” documentary, Bosh spoke endearingly about the city and the Toronto Raptors organization.

“Toronto made me feel welcome, made me feel special because I would definitely notice the difference,” Bosh said in a conversation with James and Canadian hip-hop artist Drake. “If I’m here people recognize me, show me love and everything. You go to the States, it’s a little different.

“It was always one of those strange things where my family and friends would come in town and they would be blown away just by how many people would show up at an appearance or at a game or just lining up for autographs and stuff like that.”

An 11-time all-star, Bosh talked about how he aspired to be like Vince Carter and succeed the superstar when he was traded.

“I wanted to be like Vince. I saw what he had and when he got traded I felt it was on me to continue that because I didn’t want it to just fall in the pits all of a sudden,” said Bosh in a one-on-one interview. “And then I remember the NHL had a lockout for the whole year so the fans were kinda really starved for sports, especially Canadians, they didn’t have their hockey.

“I just felt we had to deliver a winning product. I wanted to build this thing, this vision that I had in my head as a child. You know, leading a team to championships or big moments.”

Unfortunately for the 33-year-old that didn’t end up happening for him in Toronto, but Bosh is proud of the progress the franchise has made since his departure under the leadership of a player he mentored.

“My rookie was DeMar DeRozan. He was my rookie. I tried to do the same thing that Vince did for me. Take him under my wing and show him how to work in this league and how to function in this league and how to compete every night.

“The things that he’s done for this city, for himself, for his family, for the organization has been second to none. He’s the franchise leading scorer now and he’s gonna be the greatest Raptor of all time. So to watch that and see him develop as a young man, it’s fantastic. …

“It makes me proud to see the development of the city and how far it’s come. Sometimes I get mad because I’m like, ‘This is how it was supposed to be when I was here,’ you know what I mean? But, a small part of me wants to believe maybe I helped trail blaze, pave the way here now and we’re all happy.”

While not officially retired, Bosh hasn’t played since 2016. Recurring, potentially life-threatening blood clots derailed his career and, essentially, put his professional basketball-playing days on permanent hiatus. Bosh was officially waived by the Miami Heat back in July.