NEW YORK -- Nothing can bring Chris Bosh down. Not now, maybe not ever again. Not a steady stream of criticism from media types looking for any chinks in the Miami Heat's suddenly impregnable-looking armor. Not sharply worded comments from his former boss in Toronto implying that, perhaps, Bosh didn't give a maximum effort in his last season with the Raptors. Not an outpouring of hate from fans outside of South Florida whose rage is an equal blend of anger and fear for Miami's newly formed super team.
"I'm a happy guy," Bosh said. "Life is pretty good."
A little more than a month after Bosh, LeBron James and DwyaneWade rocked the basketball world with their decision to team up, Bosh remains content. He has regrets about his time in Toronto -- not making the playoffs last season ranks near the top -- but none about his decision to leave.
"Nobody wanted to make the playoffs more than me," Bosh said. "Nobody else wanted to make it more than me, trust me. I put in the work to be successful. I had a turned ankle and I had a broken nose that I had to stay in the hospital for, and I played through it. I know what I put into that organization and what I put into it was everything I had every night."
Some dispute that. Last month, Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo told a Toronto radio station that, from his perspective, Bosh mailed it in last season.
"Whether he was mentally checked out or just wasn't quite into it down the stretch, he wasn't the same guy," Colangelo said. "I think everybody saw that, but no one wanted to acknowledge it. Despite limited swelling and any excessive damage on an MRI, he felt like he needed to sit for six more games. ... I'm not even questioning Chris' injury. I'm telling you he was cleared to play subject to tolerance on his part, and the tolerance just apparently wasn't there and he chose not to play."
Bosh rejects the suggestion that anything other than a legitimate injury kept him out of the Raptors' lineup.
"I've never quit at anything," Bosh said. "Comments like that, they don't bother me as a player. Professionally, I'm disappointed. [Colangelo and I] went through a lot together. He was the GM and we both tried our best to make that team better while I was there. We had many conversations, we went back and forth on e-mails, so just to hear that, it's disappointing. But at the end of the day, there's no reason to be upset. I know that I would have done anything to win."
Bosh says he will still do anything to win, though in Miami he won't have to do as much. He's in a role that many feel he was destined for: to play second fiddle (well, third really, behind James and Wade) on a team in which he'll be asked to score, play a little defense and not much else. The pressure to carry the Heat late in games will be on James and Wade. And the presence of ZydrunasIlgauskas, Jamaal Magloire and Joel Anthony may mean that Bosh won't have to put his body through many minutes at center.
It's an ideal situation for Bosh, which is why it was the only one he seriously considered. The atmosphere in Toronto had become too poisonous for him to return, and despite reports that the Raptors and Cavaliers were working on a sign-and-trade, Bosh says he never seriously considered relocating to Ohio.
"I never really looked at [Cleveland] because I wasn't sure what LeBron was going to do," said Bosh. "Just the fact that he was waiting, I had to go and make the best decision for me."
That decision landed Bosh with the Heat, a team that will be beloved on South Beach but hated everywhere else. It's a challenge Bosh says he and his new teammates are looking forward to.
"It's a healthy hate," he said. "When the Lakers came to town, I hated the Lakers. It's what you need as motivation to beat these guys. We know we're going to get a team's best every single night. We know we're going to get the crowds best every single night. We have a big 'X' on our back. People are saying our team is not good for basketball. We're going to hear everything. It's OK. It's going to happen. We just have to win and keep on moving."