Chris Bosh recently issued a statement through
his new PR firm CBS stating that he eschewed Houston this summer due to concerns over "pressure." Specifically, Bosh is quoted as saying:
"They were trying to win right away. And I was really happy to be touted that I possibly could've been out there. But you know, that doesn't guarantee anything, and I know that. All that guarantees is a bunch of pressure."
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Bosh claims that pressure was a part of the reason he rebuffed Houston's overtures. A man who ran to Miami to join with Dwyane Wade and Lebron James to fundamentally shape the way the NBA considers team building says pressure was enough to scare him off from Houston.
I want that to sink in. A man who went to a team that went to four straight NBA Finals and returned two NBA titles for their efforts was wholly acceptable to Bosh but not a similar formation in Houston. A Houston market, mind you, that the national media has downplayed for years and that didn't even have television coverage for the majority of the last two seasons.
Bosh is regarded as one of the better power forwards in the NBA and is the key to the Miami Heat's relevance post-LeBron James. As the heir to the Heat's competitive hopes, Bosh finds that pressure comparatively lesser than what he would have faced teaming up with James Harden and Dwight Howard. For his troubles, Chris is averaging 20 points and 9 rebounds a game for the 6-5 Miami Heat currently seeded 6th in the Eastern Conference. Houston sits at 2nd place in the NBA's Western Conference at 9-2, for comparison's sake.
Perhaps the most tragic development in all of this is that no one would have blamed Bosh for taking the extra year or $30 million that Miami could offer him. Though, it's worth noting that the oft lampooned "immature" Dwight "Best center in the NBA" Howard, turned down a similar offer from the bright lights of Los Angeles to make the best guard/center tandem since Kobe and Shaq.
That's neither here nor there. Bosh has an opportunity to play for a team with diminished expectations and put up quality stats as the focal point. If that previous sentence rings a bell, it's because that was what he was in Toronto for the first seven years of his career.
The ultimate question is, why is this a story? Why is offseason sleuth-work relevant now? Well, occasionally it's important to remind people that without LeBron James in Miami it's still got a destination player. Also relevant is clickbait, who doesn't love a good yellow journalism title with little to no substance?
More to the point is the discussion of pressure. What creates pressure? Is pressure internal? External? We are talking about athletes at the pinnacle of their respective sport and competition level. The expectation to compete, not necessarily win, but compete, is constant internally. If the coaching staff isn't placing pressure on players to maximize their abilities, then you need to fire the coaching staff. Isn't the point of playing in the NBA to make the playoffs to compete for a title? Unless you're Kobe Bryant, of course, that answer is yes. So, then, it seems as though the pressure Bosh avoided was media pressure. Media pressure in a city that ESPN forgot and that didn't even broadcast local games.
The expectation of championship aspirations scared Bosh off. Coincidentally, both James Harden and Dwight Howard put those pressures on their team this year. Two players derided as immature or failing to comprehend how to win titles put the yoke of title contention on themselves and their teammates. The response of those teammates? Complete support and understanding of their roles.
If pressure is the barometer for whether or not a player will sign with a team, I'm thrilled that Harden and Howard are keeping those types of players off this team. Houston needs winners and they need players capable of delivering those victories. Even without Bosh, however, it's important to remember this:
"I think they're still in contention for it [an NBA title] even without me."
No, Chris, especially without you.