Chris Bosh: 'I Never Cared About Being a Superstar'

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Chris Bosh: 'I Never Cared About Being a Superstar'
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Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh has two championship rings, nine All-Star appearances and perhaps most importantly a whole lot of perspective.

After years spent toiling as a go-to scorer with the Toronto Raptors, he's now in his fourth season as a third option with the Heat. And despite the constant clamoring for him to do more, to be the guy he once was, Bosh has reached a state of basketball enlightenment.

He knows who and what he is. Just as importantly, he knows what he's not.

In an incisive piece by ESPN.com's Tom Haberstroh, Bosh recounted the misguided criticisms he's faced in Miami:

That's the venom. For a while, they were questioning my sexuality. They still do. They were questioning my sexuality, questioning my game. And I'm like, 'Why are they all messing with me?' I didn't do anything to anybody. I didn't do nothing. I just came here to play basketball. And they're like, 'Oh, he's not a real superstar.' I never cared about being a superstar.

In a cruelly ironic twist, Bosh has taken flak for doing the one thing we beg most other stars to try: subjugating his ego and statistics for the good of the team.

Bosh took a back seat when he went to Miami, a rare decision for a player of his caliber.

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He told Haberstroh that the criticism initially bothered him, but that he later rose above it. Helpful in that task was the obvious reality that Bosh was immensely valuable to the Heat.

Per Haberstroh, Erik Spoelstra said:

I've always said from day one, CB is our most important player. And that's not because I'm trying to build him up. The average fan doesn't appreciate what he does for us. But we do. He's sacrificed and changed his identity from when he first got here. He's a completely different player and we're better for it.

There's no question that LeBron James is actually Miami's best player, but Spoelstra's not stretching the truth when he calls Bosh its most important. That's because the big man works perfectly alongside LBJ, enabling his greatness on both ends.

The offensive space James enjoys comes largely as a result of Bosh's ability to stretch the floor with his shot. Big men have to chase him out to the perimeter, which offers relatively unprotected avenues to the bucket.

And on defense, Bosh functions brilliantly as an elite pick-and-roll stopper—the best in the NBA among big men, per Synergy Sports (subscription required).

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Everyone thinks of James and Dwyane Wade as Miami's best one-two punch. The numbers say otherwise, as James and Bosh posted a two-man net rating of plus-11.0 points per 100 possessions this past season, per NBA.com.

Lineups featuring James and Wade trailed four points behind, at plus-7.0 points per 100 possessions.

Yet again, we've got evidence that Bosh's true talent shows up in the way he serves the greater good—both in terms of individual teammates and the collective goals of his squad.

"Twenty and 10 is easy, I think," Bosh told Haberstroh. "You give me enough shots, I'll average 20. You give me a particular system where I stick close to the basket, I'll average 10 rebounds. But it's different here. We're competing for a championship, and that's what it's all about."

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As the Heat continue to do battle with the San Antonio Spurs in this year's NBA Finals, Bosh's willingness to pick his spots will continue to pay dividends. And his refreshingly selfless attitude, combined with the quiet confidence it takes to sacrifice amid criticism, will be critical as Miami heads into a pivotal offseason.

Because as much as we like to pretend Wade's health is the biggest key to keeping James happy and the Big Three together, it's becoming increasingly obvious that it's Bosh who matters more. So when tough decisions come up this summer, expect Bosh to have as much sway as anyone.

He's not a superstar anymore, but that's only because he's chosen to be something different. Now, Bosh is the guy who makes other superstars even better. Don't expect that fact to be lost on James when it comes time to evaluate his future.

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