Tonight's the night that Chris Bosh comes back to town with the Miami Hated Heat for a 'showdown' with the Toronto Raptors. And he brings with him a bag of mixed feelings, a trait shared by a lot of fans.
He's going to get booed hard. And long. Vince Carter-despising long. And, if I was in attendance, I'd probably give it a good belch of air during the introductions and the first time he touched the ball. Then I'd stop. I'd have vented my anger at the WAY Bosh departed. And really, that's all Toronto fans have to complain about.
The fact is that I believe the birth of this version of the Hated Heat was hatched at the last Olympics and was a done deal, despite remonstrations otherwise by both Bosh and LeBron James, the head villain. I honestly would have preferred a "no comment" then all of the hope-instilling banter Bosh produced all last year as he was headed out the door. "Wanting to be THE Man," was a constant refrain. Then he took the butler's job in Miami. Sorry, but playing clean up guy after James and Dwyane Wade get all of theirs isn't something THE Man aspires to do. And shame on all three of them for thinking they couldn't win without more stars than any team outside of Boston has. It showed a weakness in all of their characters.
And that weakness manifested itself to a greater degree with Bosh than I thought it would. He's run off at the mouth explaining why he left Toronto and the excuses have bordered on the surreal. Lack of ESPN at his condo was one that was cited. The smell of the city was another. Canada was, like another country, afterall. This from an almost university-educated man. Where once I thought of Bosh as a nice guy, thoughtful and possessed of an indomitable will to be the best player in the NBA, if willing to acknowledge it might be a futile quest, I no longer operate under that delusion. He wants to be liked and said things that he thought would result in that. He set himself up for his fall from Toronto's graces.
Bosh is a big athletic young guy who wants to win and jumped at an opportunity that some called a sure bet to result in five titles over the next six years. He gave up his ideals for that assurance and even gave up some money. And he gave up the chance to be a hero to fans here in Toronto or where ever else in the NBA he went to be THE Man. I suspect that he's guilty by association with James, who's turn from hero to heel is largely complete. So even fans outside of Toronto don't respect the butler of the team a heck of a lot either.
Which is too bad. We have too few sporting heroes here and everywhere. That's our loss. And it'll probably mean a Toronto loss tonight too. So, I'll softly boo him a couple of times and cheer when any Raptor outdoes him on the floor of battle. But I won't want somebody to plant him six rows deep when he goes up for a shot. I don't hope he breaks a leg, and that's unusual because of my normal practice for wishing exactly that on the boneheads of the NBA (Baron Davis, Stephen Jackson, Carmelo Anthony, The West Coast Smirk, The East Coast Smirk, etc.).
After tonight, the energy will all be gone. Chris Bosh will be just one more member of the Hated Heat, a uniform to jeer and hope losses miraculously appear on their ledger. A team that I hope lose to the otherwise detestable Celtics, the Lakers and any other foe they play.
For me, Bosh won't be worth getting worked up for. He's just another guy.