Since being drafted fourth overall by the Toronto Raptors in the 2003 NBA Draft, which many consider to be one of the greatest in history, Chris Bosh has been an 11-time NBA All-Star, won a gold medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, and claimed two NBA titles as a member of the Miami Heat. Bosh has averaged 19.2 points per game and 8.5 rebounds per game in a 13-year career spanning 893 regular season games. Bosh has also competed in 89 playoff contests, averaging 15.6 points and 7.5 rebounds in six trips to the postseason. To put it simply, Chris Bosh has had the type of career that just about anybody would be envious of.
Bo Kimble was also a lottery pick, having been drafted eighth overall by the Los Angeles Clippers back in the 1990 NBA Draft. Unlike Bosh, Kimble didn’t have the All-Star career that so many crave. He averaged 5.5 points and 1.5 rebounds in three injury-plagued seasons before playing a year overseas and 4 years in the CBA, finally retiring in 1998. However, while Bo Kimble and Chris Bosh never crossed paths on the court, the connection between the two is much bigger than basketball.
For 2 years in a row, Chris Bosh has seen his season come to an abrupt end due to complications from blood clots. Bosh was seated by the Miami Heat during this year’s All-Star break, February 9 to be exact, and was noticeably absent as the Heat lost in the Eastern Conference semifinals to the Toronto Raptors, missing out on a chance to play former teammate LeBron James for the chance to go to the NBA Finals. The matchup probably would have happened had Bosh been available. Rumors have swirled for weeks and weeks that Chris Bosh will never play another minute in the NBA, and if Bo Kimble has his way, those rumors would soon become a reality.
You see, Bo Kimble knows all too well what can happen when a player risks his safety, and even his life, to continue to play basketball. Back in December of 1989, Kimble watched his friend and Loyola Marymount teammate Hank Gathers collapse in a game against UC Santa Barbara due to an abnormal heartbeat. Only a few months later on March 4, 1990, Gathers, who had been suspected of not taking his medication on game days to improve his game performance, collapsed again in a game against the Portland Pilots. The 23-year-old All-American died shortly thereafter. The point guard for Portland that day was none other than Chris Bosh’s current head coach, Erik Spoelstra.
While Chris Bosh’s blood clots and Hank Gathers’ heart problems are not the same thing, there is risk in a return for Bosh, and Bo Kimble told TMZ that he’d like to see him walk away from the game for good.
“There are so many other things he could do with his life. Hank Gathers had the same thing, Hank could have been a comedian, and actor or did speaking engagements. It’s not worth the risk. I would just say absolutely not, don’t do it.”
Hank Gathers didn’t get that chance to walk away from the game, something Kimble wants Bosh to be able to do.
“If Hank had the ability to do it again he wouldn’t have paid the ultimate price… I am sure [Bosh] has children and they are going to need their father around as much as possible.”
They also reached out to Gathers’ brother Derrick, who feels the exact same way as Kimble.
“To this day I am just getting over the loss of my brother… just fall back and retire.”
When healthy, Chris Bosh is still a force to be reckoned with in the NBA. Before sitting down for the season, Bosh was hovering right around his career averages, posting 19.1 points and 7.4 rebounds per game and was reportedly willing to attempt a comeback while working on blood thinners. That idea was quickly shot down by the Heat, and it’s a safe bet that what Erik Spoelstra has seen up close on the court was factored heavily in the decision.
It would be a shame if Chris Bosh never played in another NBA game, but a fate far worse could befall him if he pushes it. And that would be the real tragedy.
[Photo by Chuck Burton/Associated Press]