Just days after Miami Heat four-time MVP LeBron James told ESPN’s Michael Wilbon, “I know I’m the easiest target that we have in sports, I’m aware of it,” All-Star teammate Chris Bosh chimed in by labeling himself second behind “King James.”
The 30-year-old veteran had the following exchange with reporters following Miami’s 98-96 Game 2 win, per Basketball Insiders’ Alex Kennedy:
Reporter: "If LeBron James is the easiest target, where do you think you rank in the NBA?" Chris Bosh: "I'm probably the second."— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) June 9, 2014
Bosh also said the following about his many critics:
Bosh on haters: "I don't care. That's the main part. I don't really care about criticism. If it doesn't help me, then I don't listen to it."— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) June 9, 2014
Ironically, the 6’11” big man nominated himself as the second-most criticized NBA player while also claiming not to care about or listen to those criticisms.
In the words of Ed Tom Bell (played by actor Tommy Lee Jones) from the film No Country for Old Men, “With all due respect, that don’t make a lot of sense.”
In any case, Bosh is absolutely victimized by haters within the NBA community—mostly by being called a dinosaur (a joke that stopped being funny three years ago) and for a statistical dip in the rebounding category.
He’s often been given the moniker of third-wheel among the Big Three of James, Dwyane Wade and himself, but the tallest member of the trio is the glue holding everything together.
The former Georgia Tech standout has been the perfect complement to perimeter scoring and relentless rim attacking from James and Wade. Bosh has evolved his play style from interior post-up threat to legitimate three-point gunner.
Bosh on posting up: "I don't bang with anybody anymore. It's a tired thing for me. It's not my strength."— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) May 24, 2014
On when he made that decision about his game: "When I found out you could get one more point for shooting 3s."— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) May 24, 2014
He shot 33.9 percent from three-point land during the regular season, thriving from specific areas. He shot 47.6 percent from the left corner and 39.6 percent from the top of the arc, according to NBA.com.
During the 2014 postseason, he’s upped his prowess from deep. He’s shooting a scorching-hot 43.3 percent from distance through 17 contests. Through the first two NBA Finals games, he’s drained four of six.
While his sharpshooting from deep has been a huge threat to the San Antonio Spurs thus far, the South Florida Sun Sentinel’s Ira Winderman explained the importance of Bosh choosing to be multifaceted.
“What I don’t like is the notion that Chris should be pigeonholed into any single role,” he wrote. “He is a versatile talent who can impact the game beyond outside shots. The versatility of his game should be explored on a nightly basis and he should test his bounds.”
Still, his choice to sacrifice for his team instead of being the No. 1 offensive option—as Bosh was with the Toronto Raptors—has continued to bring on unwarranted disparagement.
Kennedy addressed Bosh’s naysayers with the following tweet:
"Bosh isn't good!" "Bosh is so soft!" "Bosh hasn't made any sacrifices!" "Why are you praising Bosh?!" You all are proving he's underrated!— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) June 9, 2014
Whether Bosh is truly the second-most targeted player in the NBA is irrelevant. What isn’t is his ability to perform under pressure and give his teammates exactly what they need to win games. He’s averaging 18 points and six rebounds in the Finals while shooting 66.7 percent from downtown. Numerous teams around the NBA would love to have those contributions as a third option.
"I think validating yourself is a constant process," Bosh said, per CBS Sports' Matt Moore. "I really let that go a long time ago. I don't care about those things. I just care about the game. I focus on the game and what we're supposed to do with it."
The cynics will continue to come out of the woodwork, but Bosh will get the last laugh if he succeeds at winning a third straight championship.
With two titles already, he doesn’t have anything to prove—he’s just proving people wrong regardless.