As part of Miami's star-studded free-agent haul this summer, Chris Bosh left a Raptors team perpetually on the outer edge of the playoffs and joined a club many expect to win the East and perhaps challenge the NBA record of 72 wins in a season. The move did not come quietly, nor has it come without a host of detractors, some of whom feel Bosh and LeBron James gave up their legacies to ring-chase with Dwyane Wade. What's true and what's next? We caught up with Bosh on a recent swing through New York City as the new Heat forward publicized another new role, that of Got Milk? spokesperson.
SI.com: What did you learn this summer?
Bosh: That in controversial situations, you see what people have inside. Just to see how [everything played out in] the news, the social media, it showed this is a new day and age of the Internet. I think that really propelled this [free-agent] situation and it touched the whole world. This was kind of like a generation change we all witnessed.
SI.com: Did the summer change the way you view fans or media?
Bosh: Everybody's not going to like what you do. The fact that we came together for the team, we loved it, the Miami Heat fans loved it. But everybody's not going to like everything you do; that's something my parents taught me. You just have to keep on doing what you're doing, no matter what people say. You're not hurting anybody; you're only putting yourself in a better position. At the end of the day, we know what's important, and the fact that not everybody's going to like it, then that should just make us stay focused and not worry about what other people are going to say. It's easy to say bad stuff about someone, but can you say something good?
SI.com: Are you surprised the Heat have become Public Enemy No. 1?
Bosh: The reaction has been a bit positive and negative. It surprised me. I underestimated it ... or I didn't even know. It's been a moment I know I'll never forget.
SI.com: What has been the reaction from Toronto fans?
Bosh: Now it has settled down. But I paid attention to what people said sometimes and [the anger] made me want to say, "Yo, c'mon man, after all that time ... I'm just doing this for my career. It's nothing personal." This was a business decision. In a guy's heart, when he's in a good situation, he'll want to play for that team forever. But sometimes, business-wise, it just doesn't match. I was just following my heart and I think any one of those guys who criticize would do the same thing if they were in my shoes. People just have to try to take a look at it from our perspective sometimes because nothing is ever easy in this game.
SI.com: Why did you decide not to return to Toronto?
Bosh: I just wanted to attack free agency with an open mind. I wanted to go to the best situation possible to compete for a championship for the rest of my career, and Miami was it. It wasn't what Toronto didn't have, it's what Miami, or another team, had.
SI.com: What place should loyalty have in free agency, from the perspective of the team and the player?
Bosh: It should have none. Loyalty is an added bonus. It's great that some guys want to be loyal, but you can be unhappy trying to be loyal, and there's no reason to bring loyalty into the business room. It's like if you try to buy something from your friend for five bucks and then find another guy is selling the same thing for four, and your friend wants to know, "What about the loyalty?" And you're thinking, "I don't want to spend five dollars."
People have to look at it as a business. Fans get very wrapped around it because it's a sport. And sports are a little different but they're businesses first and that's how we have to choose sometimes. Sometimes people understand, sometimes people don't.
SI.com: Before you made your decision, you made no secret that you didn't want to play center anymore. While the Heat have done a nice job of filling out the roster, it still appears you may be called in to man the post. Is that a concern?
Bosh: There are going to be moments, but as long as I'm not out there full time, that'll work. I've been there full time and that's created different challenges. The way the Heat are built, I think we can have better situations, and I think I'm better at my natural position, power forward.
SI.com:Jeff Van Gundy recently said the Heat could break the 1995-96 Bulls' record of 72 victories. Are you worried about expectations?
Bosh: You can't be afraid. You can't try to get 73 wins. If it happens, we just have to let it happen. Everybody is going to create enough stir about it, we just are going to play basketball. I watched Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, LarryBird, Scottie Pippen, Kevin McHale. Those were the guys. That's what I want and you can't be scared of it.