Chris Bosh: "I didn't think I would develop as quick"
This is your fourth season and it will be your first time in the playoffs. How exciting is it to be entering the postseason?
Chris Bosh: I am looking forward to it a lot. It’s my first time. I think this organization has come a long way from where we were just a year ago. I think the excitement around the locker room is really good too. Everybody is looking forward to the postseason and hopefully making some noise.
The Raptors struggled your first three years going 93-153. Could you ever at that time see the light at the end of the tunnel?
CB: Yes. I think it is necessary when you are dealing with a franchise long-term. You have to think of light at the end of the tunnel. It was tough, I am not even going to lie to you. You have to keep working. The only way you see light at the end of the tunnel is hard work and dedication and believing in yourself and your team and eventually it worked out.
You were selected fourth in the 2003 draft. With players like you, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Josh Howard and Kirk Hinrich, this is considered one of the best draft classes. How much pride do you take in being part of such a storied draft class?
CB: I have a lot of pride in that. I think that ups the competition a little bit because you hear it is the best draft class, but we have a long way to go because that draft class of '84 did some very unique things. I think as our career goes on we will be competing with each other and the rest of the league and see where we end up.
In your first year you had modest statistics, averaging 11.5 points and 7.4 rebounds. Since then you have made two All-Star appearances. Could you have envisioned such rapid development from that first season?
CB: Not as fast. Eventually I wanted to be an All-Star and I wanted to do a lot of things I am doing right now. I didn’t think I would develop as quick. It has truly been a blessing to come along as fast as I did. I just want to keep getting better.
You competed in the FIBA World Championships this summer where the USA won a bronze medal. Fatigue-wise, how are your feeling?
CB: It’s been a long year. It took some getting used to. At first I was still getting adjusted to it. My body was going through some difficult times but with the playoffs and Atlantic Division and home court in reach, I have a second wind so I am feeling really good and hopefully I will be very energetic to finish out the year.
This summer the USA will compete in the FIBA Americas Championship in Las Vegas. Will you compete with the team this summer?
CB: This situation is very important for the USA. If I am healthy enough, God willing I should be there.
What is your mindset as a team entering the playoffs?
CB: We want to do some damage. We are not content just to be there. It’s great to be there, but we have to take the approach that we are one of many teams that are trying to win a championship.
You have done a lot with your charitable foundation. Could you talk about how important giving back to the community is to you?
CB: It’s really important. I take pride in doing that. I am a product of the community. I feel I can help a lot of kids out. If they make it to the NBA or they are successful in whatever they do that they will be inspired to give back. I think that’s an ongoing circle that will help the community out.
With so many young players, it looks like the future is bright for the Raptors. Do you agree?
CB: I think so. Not only are we young, but we haven’t been together long. There have been a lot of plusses this year and we are raising the bar for ourselves. We have to make sure we keep working because it’s a good feeling to win a few games and be in the playoffs, but we want to keep getting better and raising the bar for ourselves.
You are in the top 10 in free throws attempted and made. How much importance do you place in getting to the line?
CB: I think it’s really important. It’s easy points, free throws. When you are winning, it’s big to be on the line in clutch situations and when you are behind, it slows the game up. It’s just important to get to the free throw line because if you are shooting a low percentage and shooting a lot of free throws, you can still be effective so I think it’s important.
At the age of 23 you are already a two-time All-Star. How high is your ceiling?
CB: It’s pretty high for me now. I have to make sure I keep raising it. That is my goal. I set a standard for myself. I want to meet that and exceed it.
During the summer you signed a lucrative extension. Did a lot of people question your decision for signing with a team that had struggled in your first three years?
CB: A lot of people were saying, 'What are you doing?' They will question why I wouldn’t go to the States, but they have to see it the way I see it and I always thought we would be a good team.
After going 27-55 last year, is it hard to believe how far the Raptors have come in one year?
CB: It is when you think about it. I am really proud of everyone because of it. At the same time, I wanted it. It’s a good feeling to know that working with something and sticking with something is paying off because a lot of people were doubting and asking why I signed with the Raptors.
Marc Narducci covers the NBA for the Philadelphia Inquirer and is a regular contributor to HoopsHype.com
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