TORONTO — Chris Bosh sees no need to reflect on where he was at this time last year.
Physically, mentally and emotionally, he moved past it all long ago. The tubes stuck into the side of his chest, the fear of his life being in danger by the blood clot that attacked one of his lungs, the tests that would determine if his career could continue and the searing pain that accompanied each breath all are safely tucked away in the memory bank, and life as Bosh has known it for more than a decade has resumed.
A year after a blood clot gave the Miami forward the scare of a lifetime, Bosh is again an all-star.
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"It doesn’t surprise me," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "I know C.B. probably as well as I’ve known anybody that I’ve coached and I know his competitive character. You don’t ever want anything like that to happen to anybody in this league. The one thing you can take from it, though, is he has great perspective. I think we all can use that."
Bosh is back at the all-star game this weekend, and as an added bonus he’ll do so in the city where his NBA career began. Only three players who will be taking part in Toronto this weekend — Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade — have more all-star appearances than Bosh, who has been selected for the league’s midseason showcase in each of the last 11 seasons.
He’s even taking part in the three-point contest on Saturday night, not deterred in the least that at least one Las Vegas sports book lists him as the longest shot in the field of eight. So right now, he’s perfectly content looking ahead, not back at the diagnosis that came just days after last year’s All-Star weekend ended.
"I just put all that stuff behind me," Bosh said. "Once I was free of it, once I stopped having pain, I was like, ‘Well, OK, I’m out the door and hopefully I won’t be back here again.’ I appreciate everything more, but that’s really it. We can always talk about it. I don’t mind talking about it, but personally I just walked away being thankful and leave it at that."
Bosh and Wade were on vacation with their wives in Haiti after last year’s all-star events in New York, and Bosh had been dealing with pain in his side for some time. The pain worsened, so Bosh’s wife Adrienne insisted that her husband get checked out at a hospital. That’s when the clot was found, Bosh’s season was declared over and his future seemed most uncertain.
But this season, he’s been good as new.
Bosh leads the Heat at 19.1 points per game, just ahead of Wade’s 18.7 as the two veterans have Miami back in playoff contention. Bosh has also established a career-high in three-pointers with 81 already, one of the reasons why he’s in the long-range contest against the likes of more-traditional three-point stars like Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson of the NBA champion Golden State Warriors.
"I don’t have anything to lose," Bosh said. "No one expects me to win, so I could just throw hook shots up there and I don’t think it’ll be a big deal."
All jokes aside, Bosh’s NBA family is thrilled to have him back and flourishing again.
"He’s such a class act on top of being a talented player," said San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich, who will lead the Western Conference All-Stars against Bosh and the Eastern Conference squad on Sunday night. "You pull for those kind of guys even more than the usual just-good player. To have him back, seeing him doing what he loves and helping his team, it’s good for him, his team, his city and the NBA, really."
Bosh’s reception in Toronto might not exactly be warm — Raptors fans haven’t necessarily forgotten that he left for Miami in 2010 — but the weekend will still be one to savour.
"It takes a lot more to make me nervous," Bosh said. "I’ve been in so many life situations. It’s going to be exciting. It’s going to be a lot of fun. Just to be in these situations, it’s always a great thing."