Think back to the start of free agency, a relatively recent time that was filled with promise of, as Pat Riley stated, retooling and not rebuilding a championship contender. Chris Bosh had opted out of his contract and immediately began a vacation.
We saw images of him and family members with penguins and elephants, in various exotic locations across Asia, Africa and Europe.
Roaming through the streets w/my family looking for the next adventure. pic.twitter.com/5VKhnjapZ2
— Chris Bosh (@chrisbosh) July 22, 2014
He attended weddings and launched his own brand of designer ties…but where we didn’t see him was with a basketball on the hardwood floor. It’s a far cry from what Miami Heat fans have witnessed of their now-departed leader over the last four years. LeBron James had been, if nothing else, obsessive about his offseason training program, determined to explore any and all techniques in the hope of remaining an elite athlete as he continues to age.
Meanwhile, Bosh has been watching World Cup soccer as he smokes a hookah.
It’s an amazing contrast. And considering Bosh’s commitment to Miami for at least the next five years at a tune of over $100 million, it’s a little disconcerting.
But before Bosh’s and James’ disparate approach to the offseason can be considered, it’s more important to look at the type of person each of these athletes is.
James has been a superb athlete for decades but his every move has been questioned since he began his professional career, if not before that. Anything less than the carefully-crafted image of him continuously devoted to training would draw ridiculously unfair criticism.
On the other hand, Bosh has thrived as much-more diverse personality. He is just as likely to write about the benefits of learning code, provide voice-over work for a superhero cartoon or knock down a game winning shot.
He actively seeks to exist outside the standard definition of a superstar athlete and that versatility has served him on the court, as he is evolved over the course of his career.
Keep in mind that this #BoshFamilyWorldTour has seemed to refresh and reenergize the Heat star. As he explained to ESPN following the season-ending loss in the NBA Finals, this past year had been one of the most difficult of his career:
“I don’t think anybody really enjoyed this season like in years past. There was no, like, genuine joy all the time. It seemed like work. It was a job the whole year. Winning was just a relief. Losing was a cloud over us sometimes, and then we’d break out of it — and then go right back. “
Bosh’s offseason has been, as far as we know, devoid of the usual approach to training. But as he’s shown throughout the years, he is far from the typical athlete.
If traveling through Ghana and Sri Lanka reminds Bosh of what’s most important in life and why he competes as a member of the Heat, then perhaps his methods – and not biking through the streets of Miami – might be effective enough to help lead his team into a new, exciting era of Heat basketball.