On a special edition of Open Floor, Rohan and two-time NBA champion Chris Bosh dive deep into one of Chris’s favorite games from his career: Game 6 of the 2013 Finals. They discuss Tim Duncan’s brilliance, the pressure facing the Heat’s Big Three, how much the NBA has changed since and much more. Rohan also asks Chris about his new book, Letters to a Young Athlete.
Rohan Nadkarni: You guys call a timeout. Spo takes his final timeout. There's 23 seconds left. It's 93-89 and LeBron and Dwyane at this point are just full-on arguing, and you mention it, you have to make a choice. Something I'm fascinated about in this situation with all athletes is how much doubt is creeping in and how are you fighting it? Because obviously I'm watching the game—and I'm a diehard fan and I'm like, "It's over, they've lost, I've seen a million NBA games and they're going to play the foul game and it's not going to work." You know that. How do you fight doubt in that scenario?
Chris Bosh: You just move on to the next thing. So my personal experience, we go over, and me and Spo both talked about this because after the series the next day, I asked him, like, "Yo, what was going through your mind?" We all asked each other this question and then for me it's kind of, oh no, the shock, you know, you start feeling the beginnings of the panic attack. But then we went back to the huddle. I'm just looking at everybody else just to see how they're doing, you know, Bron is biting his nails.
Rohan Nadkarni: Yeah, the camera zooms in on LeBron.
Chris Bosh: They're showing just the inside of his nose and his pores. I'm kind of just punch drunk a little bit, just kind of taking the moment in. And I look at my wife and, you know, you start trying to look at your family members, you want that look to be, 'it's OK. It's OK.' You know? You want that reassuring look.
Rohan Nadkarni: I needed that at Chili's. I had tear-soaked chicken tenders.
Chris Bosh: I'm not looking at you! Get back to those tenders, man. You know what I mean. My wife, she wasn't looking at me. And so then just that moment snapped me back into what we were doing right there. And so you just do the process. You keep playing the game until the game is over. And so Spo drew up a play, he subbed me out and it's just like, hey, let's extend the game, we need a three. You know what happens if we don't make the three, but let's focus on this play right now. So everything goes into executing this play right now and supporting this. And we were just totally in the moment.
Rohan Nadkarni: So you guys are actually down five, it's 94-89. They've gone on an 8-0 run. OK, so you come off the timeout, LeBron gets open, he sets a screen, I think for a back screen for Ray Allen. There's so much attention on Ray. LeBron gets a wide-open look at the top of the key, he misses it. Dwyane keeps the ball alive. He gets a shot on the wing, nails it for a three, two-point game. And it's funny, on the next inbound, Duncan's going to inbounds and on the broadcast, they're like, "I don't like how close those ropes are to Duncan." They're not giving him the room. And it's like they keep bringing up the things that are going to be really important later.
Chris Bosh: Right.
Rohan Nadkarni: So Kawhi gets the ball, he gets fouled. And it's hilarious because I watch this the same day he put away the [Mavericks] in Game 7. And every time I'm like, "Give the ball to Kawhi Leonard! What are you doing? This guy is a machine!" But he wasn't that yet obviously. And you can see how young he is in his face and you could see it and he looked so nervous headed to that free throw line and he misses that free throw and it's that moment of life, obviously right?
Chris Bosh: Mhm.
Rohan Nadkarni: So you have no timeouts left. You have to come down. LeBron takes a three and ... Pat Riley describes this play in such beautiful detail in the foreword to your book when you go and get this offensive rebound. And I've heard you talk about it so many times. The thing that always amazes me about that play is where LeBron misses a three-pointer. It's rebound Bosh, back out to Allen, his three-pointer, bang. And it's the game-tying three-pointer. But LeBron was wide open at the top of the key too and he's calling for it.
Chris Bosh: Yeah, so was Dwyane.
Rohan Nadkarni: Yeah haha, I'm like, "Not Wade! Not Wade!" Did you even see those guys at that moment? Did you know you wanted to go to Ray right away? Like that's what always blew me away about that play, because I know the first person I'm looking for is LeBron James. Even if Ray Allen is on the court. How did you know? Was it split second? Did you even have a second to think about it? Is it all instinct? Is it all reflex? How did you know?
Chris Bosh: It's a combination of everything. It's the training, it's the split second, he was the first person I saw. I think the other person I saw was Manu, which I think I knocked him down going for the rebound, but I just felt like a slight nudge in my right side, you know, that's what it felt like. And I looked down and Manu was right there and I look up and Ray had big eyes backing up. And you know, he was right there. And we have gone over plays like that before. And we always knew that the first mistake that bigs make is, dribble it out to the three and just shoot that dumbass shot that never goes in. And so, you know, I would like to say I was aware of it, but it happened so quick. He was just the first person I saw. So I was just grabbing a rebound and I heard him calling me, as crazy as that sounds, I heard him calling me that quick. And so I saw him and he was backing up. He caught it in rhythm. Perfect play.