Storyline: Chris Bosh Retirement

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During an appearance on NBA TV as a panel for Game 3 of the Toronto Raptors-Milwaukee series, Bosh also offered some insights on his transition as a full-time husband and father. “After a while, after a couple of years, I didn’t want to put myself out there and have that letdown again,” Bosh said. “I don’t want to be mad at the game. I don’t want to resent the game. Let me just walk away now causeI haven’t told any doctors.” “I got three boys and my twins were just born. And so as they were getting older, you know, you kinda see how much I realize how much I was going. I remember the first days being home it was so loud in the house. I had to get used to it.”

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Wearing a Heat championship ring on both hands, Bosh watched a giant banner bearing his name and No. 1 raised to the rafters of AmericanAirlines Arena on Tuesday night — then delivered an emotional address to the crowd, part of it even in Spanish as a show of respect to the Latin culture of Miami. “My name, my family name up here, that’s something I used to get laughed at for dreaming of,” Bosh said. “So never let anyone tell you that you can’t accomplish your dream. Those four letters on the back of that jersey are my wife’s name, my kids’ name, my father’s name, my grandfather’s name. We’re not just carrying on for another generation. But now, Daddy Jack, we’re up there forever.”

For a time, he and the Heat were estranged. Bosh wanted to keep playing. The Heat didn’t feel his health issues would allow that. Eventually, the sides reached an understanding and then they finally began talking again. Now he’s back in the Heat family, forever. “I feel like I can officially, officially, officially move on,” Bosh said. “It all happened really fast, but we’re here. I’m so happy. And we get to move on into the next life together.”

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.

Chris Bosh: Unless I’m competing at something, I don’t worry about it, trying to fill the void or match that feeling I had. But it is tough. And it is very hard. That’s why I make it a point to try not to pay attention to it or to try and fill the void. Because you can’t. It’s impossible and it won’t happen. The NBA is the best league in the world. It’s no way you’re going to be able to fill the void that the energy of performing before 20,000 people every night gives you. That’s just impossible.

Chris Bosh: I just try and move on from that and let it be a moment in time and leave it alone. I don’t look for that to fulfill me and I’m moving on to different things. Now that’s … if I do play again, I’m not going to say hey, ‘I’m this player that I was.’ I’m going to be a totally different player in a totally different situation and bring all those experiences with me. But looking to fill voids, it’s one of those bottomless pits, man. It’s not a ghost I’m interested in chasing.

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.”
1 year 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.

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.”

Chris Bosh: Man, losing in the finals is one of the worst experiences I’ve ever had in my life. It was definitely a huge lesson in humility. Losing to the team from my hometown and then experiencing a postponed season the next year was very difficult. I was so embarrassed, I was reluctant to go out in public. It was so hard to face everyone. Coming out of that time, I learned about perseverance. You never really know its true meaning until you have to go—and grow—through tough times. But you stayed positive, Miami. You stayed with us and supported us and reinforced that belief that we could do it—and we did! That’s what makes those moments so special. I saw my teammates, my friends and brothers, shine brightest in the darkest moments of their lives. It wasn’t about coming through with a great play or winning a crucial game on the road. It was the fact that these guys did it with so much on the line. We beat the odds so many times.

Bosh: This community has welcomed me with open arms from day one. The city’s rich tradition and culture is unique and you can feel it from the moment you land in Miami. The fans have always greeted my family with positivity, just trying to put smiles on the kids’ faces. That’s the thing I love about the community. You all have shown appreciation every time we were out for events or just walking through the streets. I’ve met people who have had lifetime season tickets, and I can see the pride in their eyes when they tell me. I’ve also picked up a great deal of Spanish and now have a tool for life to help me communicate with more people around the world. Learning how to order a cafe con leche o ropa vieja on Calle Ocho has become natural to me. That’s amazing!

But in his letter, Bosh chose to reflect more on the good times he had since joining the Heat in 2010 and playing such a huge role in the team going to the NBA Finals in four consecutive seasons and winning two championships. “I’ve been reflecting on my time in this great city and want to thank you for being a constant during a period of change in my life,” Bosh wrote. “I’ve experienced a few finals appearances, a couple of championships, several weddings (including my own), the birth of four kids, bonding with an entire community and a ton of ups and downs along the way.”

Even though he has been deemed to have a career-ending condition , Bosh could play again if he chooses to and if a team gives him medical clearance. Getting such clearance would be, at best, daunting. “I’ve learned how to dream again,” Bosh wrote. “I’ve learned how to appreciate the game of basketball and all the things I’ve experienced even more now. … We went through life together, Miami. You showed me how to stay strong and push through in the toughest moments. And although I didn’t like it at the time, it made all the difference in the long run. It made me a better man, the person I am today. Thank you.”

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.

Turner has had ongoing conversations with Bosh over the years about his interest in broadcasting but nothing definitive fulltime given he was playing. He was part of TNT’s “Players Only” franchise earlier this year during Monday night doubleheader action and did solid work. “Chris has been a contributor with us in the past and we have an open dialogue with him and his representatives,” a Turner Sports spokesperson said on Sunday. “No plans have been finalized for next season at this time.”

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.

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.”

Bosh said “there’s still a lot of things” that he has to figure out. “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. “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.”

Bosh, speaking at the CES gadget show in Las Vegas, was asked how he’s spent time away from the court. “For me, I kind of just follow my passions and follow what I love to do and use my free time to kind of answer those questions and go through my bad moods and maybe a little light case of depression,” Bosh said. “Really, to search for what I’m looking for. And I’ve come to some interesting conclusions. It’s all about following my heart and what made me happy.”

The National Basketball Players Association is monitoring the Miami Heat’s approach with sidelined Chris Bosh, including the possibility of the team keeping the All-Star power forward on the roster long enough to prevent him from becoming playoff eligible for another team. A party familiar with the NBPA’s approach on Friday told the Sun Sentinel that the union is examining the situation, while also remaining cognizant of the ongoing medical and privacy issues with Bosh, who failed his preseason physical after missing the second half of the past two seasons due to blood clots.

What was your reaction when you heard Pat Riley say he believed Chris Bosh likely never will play again for the Heat? Chris Bosh: Before I even focused on basketball my concern went out to CB as a person, as an individual. I have a good relationship with him. I have a good relationship with his family. My wife has a great relationship with his wife. Secondly as a friend you support your friend through the good, the bad, the ups and downs. Regardless of where CB’s career takes him or whatever his situation may be, we’re always going to have a relationship, we’re always going to be friends. I’m always going to be rooting for CB.

According to multiple sources, although the Heat remains supportive of Bosh (he traveled on owner Micky Arison’s plane), they have not all been aligned in terms of the treatment of his condition. The team has been the more cautious party, making it known behind the scenes that, just because an outside doctor clears Bosh, it doesn’t mean the team will be comfortable letting him play. That would be true even with a medical waiver that would in some way limit liability.

Bosh, eager to return, has sought opinions from multiple doctors about whether it was safe to come off the blood thinners in order to resume playing this season. On that issue, there were different opinions among the doctors consulted by Bosh, according to two sources with direct knowledge. But most of the doctors consulted believed Bosh should continue taking the blood thinners for several months, which is common treatment for the condition, even though the clot dissipated several weeks ago. That is ultimately the course Bosh took.
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