NBA Rumor: Chris Bosh Health

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Heat president Pat Riley and owner Micky Arison refused to acquiesce to a risk-accepted return. “It was tough, man. It was stressful,” Bosh says. “And nobody wanted it to be like that. And it’s business. I understood the whole time of where they were coming from and how they felt, but I want to make sure that people understood how I felt, as well. Sometimes that requires confrontation or involves confrontation. It was never confrontational. It was never anything detrimental to our relationship. We always kept it business. We all pretty much disagreed.”

Bosh got the remaining $52 million on his $118 million contract. In the financial sense, he was made whole. But he never learned why the clots kept happening. And a year ago, at the All-Star weekend in Los Angeles, Bosh’s wife Adrienne had enough — she pulled her husband aside, told him to end his self-described “pity party” and start enjoying being around the game and his friends again. “I feel great now,” Bosh said. “Things are great. Things are really, really good.”

As part of that settlement, which still has Bosh earning $26.8 million this season (it does not count toward Miami’s cap and it is mostly covered by insurance), he is not allowed to return to play for the Heat at any point. But it appears he has settled into life after basketball, although he hasn’t officially announced the end of his playing career. “Chris was going through a lot,” Heat guard Dwyane Wade said of his former teammate and close friend. “He was somebody who was one of the best players in the world, and he had a diagnosis that comes that no one is familiar with, really. It’s just a tough situation. You got a player who was 32 at the time, something like that, and the way the game is going, can play for a long time. It’s just unfortunate.

The truth about the Heat is that even when departures grow heated, bridges rarely are burned. It is why Alonzo Mourning can return to share in a championship, why Shaquille O’Neal can return to have his jersey retired, why LeBron James can receive a heartfelt tribute while in a Cleveland Cavaliers jersey. That’s what made Wednesday at AmericanAirlines Arena so significant, the warmth of the embrace between Chris Bosh and Heat management, coaching staff and players. The chill since Bosh’s departure in the wake of blood clots, one that had to be brokered between the NBA and union, had been frigid for months, if not years. Then came Wednesday, the prelude to Bosh’s No. 1 jersey (since unissued) being raised to the rafters, just as James’ No. 6 eventually will be. “We couldn’t walk around as proud as we are without Chris Bosh,” Dwyane Wade said.

Bosh’s NBA career came to a halt after his second blood clot diagnosis in 2016. The first blood clot, which traveled to his lung, was discovered in 2015. He hasn’t played a game since just before the All-Star break in 2016. He won two championships with the Heat, was named to 11 All-Star teams and is an Olympic gold medalist. While he told USA TODAY Sports that he is not retired and interested in playing again, it is difficult to envision a team doctor clearing him for an NBA return.

David Fizdale was Bosh’s assistant coach in Miami, helping transform the 7-footer from a back-to-the basket force to a center who could shoot 3’s and spread the floor. The result was two championships with the Heat and four NBA Finals. “He helped me so much as far as dissecting offenses,” Bosh told the News. “Film work. And just mentally preparing for every night challenge. We felt a bond just trying to figure out how I can be effective in a free-flowing offense we had. And sometimes it was just having a beer and talking and leaving all the offcourt stuff to the side.”

Bosh told Yahoo Sports that he “absolutely” understands those concerns, but he has weighed his treatment options and sought enough second opinions and to feel comfortable that he can identify the symptoms and still play without catastrophic risk to his health. “That’s kind of always the basis of the conversation, and I appreciate people who check up on me, but this is something that of course I’ve thought long and hard about. I know what those things feel like.”
3 years ago via ESPN

“I go there, and I’m smiling, and everyone is scowling at me. The whole LeBron ‘Decision’ had everybody so mad. I don’t know why, but I caught so many stray bullets being around it. Then we lost [in the 2011 NBA Finals to Dallas], and people were dogging me. I started to get pretty bitter.” The enduring image of Game 6, the clinching win for the underdog Mavericks, was a distraught Bosh stumbling to the locker room in tears. Videos of him crying went viral, and he was summarily vilified for being “soft.” “All those people who made fun of me for breaking down, they didn’t understand,” Bosh says. “I put my life into this. I was getting it from all sides, and then we lose. I expressed my feelings, and then they made fun of me for that. I was too honest. I just couldn’t win.”

Life is pared down. He works as a Blazers ambassador, enjoying the connection to fans, and does occasional stints on sports radio. He owns a modest house on a nondescript suburban street, where he lives with his 14- and 15-year-old daughters. When I visit, the fridge is stocked with healthy foods: spinach, egg whites, zucchini. A yoga book rests on the coffee table. It’s not until I enter his personal study, off to the side, that I find any mementos from his career—framed jerseys from the Blazers and the Heat. More prevalent are photos of family and fishing trips. He says he hasn’t played basketball in years and isn’t that interested in talking about the old days.
4 years ago via ESPN

You called all these GMs, I’m sure you called the league, the Players Association—I’ve been told there’s almost no hope [for Chris Bosh to continue his playing career]. Jackie MacMullan: I’ve been told there’s no hope, and it’s because the situation is too dangerous, too scary. […] From what I’ve been told, and of course, the records are sealed because of HIPAA laws and because all of his medical records from the Heat have not been seen by other NBA teams, at least that I’m aware of, I should say that, because perhaps someone asked and the Heat obliged, I’m not sure. I didn’t get that sense but I suppose it’s possible. But we don’t really know what else is involved with this. And I get the sense, from talking to GMs around the league, that there’s other things in play here.

Bill Simmons: There’s no chance you play again, right? Chris Bosh: Nah, there’s a chance. BS: There’s a chance? Really? What chain of events would have to happen? CB: Well, I would talk to a team. Which, I’ve talked to guys. And their doctors—because like I said, there hasn’t been a plan. But if a team creates that plan, we can go from there. But we’ve explored those things and it’s a lot of work. We don’t have the resources to do the research and everything. But if it’s important enough to a team to devise that plan and talk on the phone to doctors, insurance and all those things, then yeah, we can talk about it.
4 years ago via ESPN

The Miami Heat shut down their five-time All-Star, and after exhaustive testing and treatment, announced in September 2016 that Bosh had failed his physical. Miami’s front office, concerned for their player’s future as a father and a husband, not a basketball forward, told him they could no longer risk putting him on the court. Just like that, it was over. No more championship trophies to hoist, no more All-Star teams to make, no more gold medals or endorsements or private jet excursions with the guys. Bosh retreated home to his wife, Adrienne, and their four small children, plunked himself on his leather sofa and asked aloud, “What the hell just happened?” “It’s pretty much like cruising along, going 150 miles an hour in your Porsche — and then you fall into a hole,” Bosh says.
4 years ago via ESPN

Bosh’s medical records with the Heat are sealed; even though other NBA teams have not had access to them, many have already reached their conclusion. ESPN contacted four general managers to gauge their interest in Bosh. All four said if Bosh was given a clean bill of health, there would be a clamor to sign him. But as one GM explains, “If he was healthy, he’d be playing for the Miami Heat right now. The fact they determined it was not an option makes me say we’re not going there.” “The risk is too great,” says another GM. “We’re talking about a life-threatening condition. Who wants to mess with that?” The answer, most likely, is no one.
4 years ago via ESPN

Chri Bosh, who turns 34 on March 24, says he trains regularly and still has plenty to offer an NBA team. His condition, he believes, should not hold him back. “I’m going to give [playing] one more shot,” he says. “That’s all it is — a shot. “I’m at a space in my life where I see gifts I’ve been given, and if it ends, it’s been a helluva ride. I did more than I’d ever think I’d do. The next [goal] was longevity, 25,000 points and 15,000 rebounds, but that’s not going to happen,” added Bosh, who now has 17,189 points and 7,592 rebounds. “I’ve accepted that.”
4 years ago via ESPN

Losing the game is one thing. Losing the environment that accompanies it has been even harder. The players he spent every waking moment with for nearly 10 months a year have, one by one, vanished from his life. “It tails off,” Bosh admits. “Guys tried [to stay in touch]. But it doesn’t last. They get in the middle of the season and you aren’t part of it. You’re sitting here feeling like nobody cares about you. “I went from a full schedule, 41 road games, everyone coming to see you, everybody loving you, people wanting stuff from you — actually, that’s still going on — to this schedule I have now. “I spend my days in an office in my house. There are things to be done that I don’t have the skill set for. I’m able to learn on the fly, thank God, so I can function. But it’s difficult. “People used to ask me, ‘What else do you want to do?’ For me, the answer was, ‘Nothing.’ I loved basketball. It’s all I wanted.”
4 years ago via ESPN

Bosh says he finds it awkward to engage with some of his ex-teammates. They are still in the moment, with the spotlight shining brightly on them, and he is a sobering reminder of how it can all go bad in a heartbeat. Because of that, some of them avoid him. “We are so egotistical when we’re playing,” Bosh says. “We’re like, ‘This is all about me. They’re talking about me on ESPN, I’m making all this money, I’m winning all these games.’ “Those moments where 20,000 people are watching you, and you hit the game winner? It’s an incredible feeling.” He pauses, wistfully. “I would love,” Bosh says, “to experience that feeling one more time.”

Draymond Green never stepped on a piece of cardio equipment until he was in college. Not all those years growing up in Saginaw, Mich., where his gritty game grew in spite of the fact that his waistline would often do the same. Not in that summer of 2007, when he sprained his ankle before his senior season at Saginaw High School not long before he would head for Michigan State en route to Golden State Warriors fame. There was, as he remembers, a total dearth of health facilities in his home region.

Even after blood-clotting issues prematurely ended his 2014-15 and 2015-16 campaigns, even after the NBA’s independent medical review confirmed the Miami Heat’s diagnosis that it was unsafe for him to continue playing, even after he was waived in coordination with the announcement that the Heat would retire his number, Chris Bosh has always maintained the belief that he can return to the court. The 11-time All-Star took that a step further on ESPN’s “First Take” on Thursday morning, informing the panel that he continues to prepare for a comeback and, shockingly, is open to an NBA return this year.

Chris Bosh: Don't write me off

Although Chris Bosh has not played in an NBA game since Feb. 9, 2016 because of blood clotting issues, he’s not ready to close the door on his NBA playing career just yet. “That’s still there in front of me,” Bosh said on The Full 48 podcast hosted by Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck. “The window is still open. Once I close the doors, it’s closed. I don’t open it back up. That’s kind of me as a human being. That’s just one of the things about me. … But yeah, for me, I don’t close anything until I’m officially done. So until that day, I will definitely let everybody know when that day comes, if it comes soon. “I still, of course, work out and everything. I’m still doing work on the court. That’s very important to me. I’m still keeping my options open for the future. I know a lot of people don’t know that, but don’t write me off just yet.”

“That’s a fair question,” Bosh said said on The Full 48 podcast. “I would definitely understand and I do understand when my friends ask me or people ask me the same thing. But I think it’s something about the body of work. It’s about what you do and the impression that you leave, the inspiration that you leave with people. And you know, I’ve been playing basketball my whole life. So for people to understand, whatever it is you love doing, just stop doing it today and never do it again and then use that same philosophy. And they’ll probably find it’s not as easy as you would think.”

Although Chris Bosh has not played in an NBA game since Feb. 9, 2016 because of blood clotting issues, he’s not ready to close the door on his NBA playing career just yet. “That’s still there in front of me,” Bosh said on The Full 48 podcast hosted by Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck. “The window is still open. Once I close the doors, it’s closed. I don’t open it back up. That’s kind of me as a human being. That’s just one of the things about me. … But yeah, for me, I don’t close anything until I’m officially done. So until that day, I will definitely let everybody know when that day comes, if it comes soon. I still, of course, work out and everything. I’m still doing work on the court. That’s very important to me. I’m still keeping my options open for the future. I know a lot of people don’t know that, but don’t write me off just yet.”

The Heat is expected to release Chris Bosh this week, clearing the remaining $52.1 million of his contract off its salary cap and ending a seven-year relationship that including the exhilaration of two championships and the numbing news of multiple blood clots that ultimately ended his Heat career. Miami needs to make the move this week to push its available cap space from $9 million to a bit over $34 million. Players can be signed after noon on Thursday.

Bosh remains under contract with the Miami Heat, though the team is likely to begin a process of waiving him and getting salary-cap relief from the final two years of his deal. He’ll be owed about $52.1 million for 2017-18 and 2018-19, money he is guaranteed to receive but dollars that may not count against the Heat books. He is reticent to discuss his playing future, though acknowledged again that planning to play this season but not being able to because of a failed physical “was a challenge.” “I’m still a basketball player at heart,” Bosh said. “I can’t help it.”

The five kids at home, that’s full-time. And they’re used to having their dad at home when they arrive back from school in the afternoon, something Bosh — who is playing some basketball in workouts — has happily gotten used to as well. “People are so concerned and I appreciate it, but I’m doing fine,” Bosh said. “I’m very happy. I’m getting to do other things that I have never been able to do. I’m a beginner in a lot of things. But I’ve learned to like it, and just look at the nice new picture I have of the world.”

The use of blood thinners typically returns a blood-clot sufferer to general health, although the use of blood thinners is contraindicated for those attempting contact sports. The Heat, according to a source close to the situation, in recent days have attempted to reach out to Bosh in hopes of an amicable resolution, without response. Bosh remains with a stall in the Heat locker room at AmericanAirlines Arena, but has not been around the team this season, in contrast to his presence after being sidelined the previous two seasons.

Chris Bosh has a new job, yet does not sound like he’s abandoning his old one. More than a year removed from his last NBA game, Bosh said during his debut appearance as an analyst for Turner Sports’ “Players Only” programming that he’s working out — indicating that he has not ruled out trying to play again. “My health is great,” Bosh said during Monday night’s initial broadcast. “I’m feeling good, still working out and just really still staying ready.”

“A lot of the issue with the Heat is at the end of the day he has something serious and they want to make sure it’s not life-threatening and then it goes from there,” Wade said. “Things are said and things are done but at the end of the day as I’ve always said about Chris, I know Chris is worried about his health first. He has a family that he loves and he wants to make sure that he’s as healthy and whole as he can be. But also he loves the game of basketball so when that day comes there are always going to be stories about guys where they have friends at. Everyone knows he a good friend of mine so that’s probably where you get some of that. But besides that, he hasn’t told me that.”

Bosh, speaking at a CES gadget show in Las Vegas, did not address his health but said he’s still figuring out what he wants to do next. “I’m still learning more about myself and my situation, and really off the court how to function there because I’m kind of getting the taste of retirement now,” Bosh said, via the Associated Press. “Just trying to navigate those waters because it gets a little complicated sometimes. … Hoping one day that the stars align and I figure some things out and things kind of just go my way and I’ll be able to do what I want to do. I don’t know what that is yet.”
5 years ago via SLAM

Bosh has always shown that he’s not just a basketball player, though. He takes pride in being a well-rounded person. He used to have a YouTube channel with vlogs, interviews, even a behind-the-scenes series about getting his first tattoo. He’s become a talented chef and he’s appeared in movies and on television. And these days, the Dallas native has picked up a new, more harmonious hobby: the guitar. “I started playing because of my situation,” Bosh says. “I had a lot more free time on my hands. I always wanted to learn music. About eight years ago I tried picking up playing the piano. My cousin would give me lessons. Of course, I didn’t pursue it. It got too hard and I stopped. I always thought the guitar was cool. So I said, If I pick it up and don’t put it down, I can learn how to play the guitar.”

Bosh wants his release so he can join another team. It is far from certain he will get that chance. Indeed, his career might already be over. While no one can offer certitude, sources who spoke with Bleacher Report in recent weeks—including team executives, medical experts, sports ethicists, player advocates and other league personnel—painted a grim picture. There are doubts that any team doctor will clear Bosh to play—or that it would be wise or even ethical to do so.

The NBA’s new labor deal, agreed upon last Wednesday, will create for the first time an independent medical panel to settle life-and-death cases, according to details obtained by Bleacher Report. When a player is declared medically “unfit” to play, his case can be referred to the panel by his team, by the league or by the players association. If the panel determines the player has a life-threatening condition, it could bar him from playing in the NBA again.

Two sources familiar with the situation told The Post that Bosh’s failure of the physical stemmed specifically from a blood-clot matter, as many have speculated. Bosh had two previous blood clots — in February 2015 and February 2016. It is standard in cases such as Bosh’s to undergo a sonogram, to make sure the legs are clot free, and a chest CT scan for the lungs. It is unclear if the sonogram or CT scan showed the old blood clot still had not dissipated enough despite blood thinners — or if a third clot had formed.

According to a league-employed source connected to Bosh, the mindset at the moment is that he’s more likely to attempt a comeback next season than this season. The Heat eventually needs clarity on that, because if Miami goes through the process of removing his salary from its cap in February (it cannot happen before Feb. 9) instead of, say, April, it would leave Miami at risk if Bosh makes a comeback elsewhere this season because his salary would go back on the Heat’s cap if he plays 25 games with another team (regular season and/or playoffs).

The labor agreement is written in such a way that Miami now must root against Bosh being cleared to make a comeback elsewhere. Bosh is expected to come off Miami’s cap soon after Feb. 9, which would eliminate hits of $25.3 million next season and $26.8 million in 2018-19, though he would still be paid everything he’s owed, partly from insurance. The cap-hit removal will become definite if a doctor selected by the league and union determine, as expected, that his condition is career-threatening or severe enough to put him at risk if he plays.

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September 28, 2021 | 6:58 pm EDT Update