Bosh was hosted by FIU’s Student Programming Council as part of the group’s lecture series
“Last year wasn’t a failure, just a disappointment,” said Miami HEAT forward Chris Bosh, about the team’s loss to the Dallas Mavericks in the 2011 NBA Finals. Bosh was speaking to an audience of more than 450 FIU students gathered Sept. 22 for a Q&A session with the six-time NBA All-Star.
For an hour at the SIPA auditorium, Bosh spoke candidly about the hype that surrounded last season, as well as the challenges of growing up, on and off the court.
Going into last year’s championship, the HEAT were heavy favorites with newly acquired stars Bosh and LeBron James along with returning star Dwyane Wade on the roster. But the Dallas Mavericks took top honors, becoming the first team in NBA history to enter Game 3 tied 1–1, lose Game 3 and still win the Finals.
“It hurt – to come that far to be attacked personally,” he said of the critics. “I worked extremely hard. To come up short does something to you. I went there in my dreams. I pictured myself with the championship.”
Bosh said the season was extremely hard, but also a lot of fun. He is using the loss to stay motivated, working harder than ever in the off-season. “Expect straight awesomeness this year,” he said.
All Bosh has ever wanted to do is play basketball. He’d see his father and friends glued to the TV during the finals, watching Michael Jordan and the Bulls. He remembers thinking, “You get paid to play? That is what I’m going to do.’ It was a no-brainer.”
The NBA drafted Bosh at 19 after his freshman year at Georgia Tech. “It was hard at first,” said Bosh, who joined the Toronto Raptors and became one of the youngest stars in the league. “These were grown men. I was used to hanging out with my teammates after practice. They’d go home and I’d sit in my apartment alone.”
Bosh had struggled in college as well, calling it a culture shock. “Mr. Basketball,” as he was called in high school, struggled with classes and in practice. But he persevered. “I learned things are difficult. You just got to stick it out. Things will work out.”
In the pros, Raptor teammate Darrick Martin became a mentor and Bosh said he is the player who has most influenced him. “He believed in me. He saw in me what I saw in myself and gave me confidence.”
Bosh added that his real role models were his parents. “You can like this or that player, but they’re not putting food on your table.”
His parents both worked and the basketball star also credits after-school programs for keeping him out of trouble. “I went to a lot of free camps. I’m not sure I would be here without them,” he said. Today he helps kids through his eponymous foundation established in 2004.