I am not a Miami Heat fan. But Monday night I was rooting for Heat power forward Chris Bosh. Hard.
Because the day before Bosh had done the one thing you absolutely, positively cannot do in sports. He told the truth. Not his opinion of something (i.e. Rashard Mendenhall) but the truth.
Predictably, he then was crushed by "the media" for it.
Bosh played very poorly Saturday night in a 16-point loss to the Celtics in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. He produced a mere six points and five rebounds in 30 minutes. The man he was guarding, Kevin Garnett, had 28 points and 18 boards. Getting outplayed happens. Admitting that a major reason it took place is because you were "nervous," well, that is too much truth to handle.
"My emotions got the best of me early on and it kind of dictated what I was doing for the rest of the game," Bosh said. "I wasn't relaxing and playing."
In 2011, that is just not acceptable. You must be terrific all the time. You cannot be human and feel what a normal person would feel. After all, Chris Bosh, it doesn't matter that you had never played in a game this big in an environment this hostile. Nevermind that you were going up against a future Hall of Famer who had four days to rest before this "must win" game.
Doesn't matter, Chris. You weren't just bad, you were weak. Worse than that, you were "soft."
Oh, boy! Not many worse things you can say about a pro athlete than they are "soft."
This 27-year-old, 6-11, 235 pound, very talented basketball player for over 24 hours was now being verbally brought down to the stature of a middle-aged, 5-9, 235 pound guy. Or about the average size of a member of "the media."
So when Game 4 rolled around, even though Bosh is likely to play another eight to 10 years, you got the sense that his reputation and legacy was on the line Monday night. Come up with another poor result and he is the marshmallow man forever.
Instead Bosh scored 20 points, pulled down 12 rebounds (Garnett had seven points, 10 rebounds) and put the game away with a follow-up rebound basket in the final minute of overtime.
I tend to believe that most interviews are pretty standard, but usually there are "six seconds of truth" to be found. Bosh gave us those six seconds when he admitted he was nervous.
It would be nice the next time a coach or athlete gives us those six seconds if "the media" would just report it and let the story play out. Because every time "the media" crushes someone for telling the truth, hundreds of coaches and athletes vow to never tell the truth again.
Good for you, Chris Bosh. You acknowledged some failings in the heat of the playoffs and then fought through it to take your team and game to greater heights.
Not long ago that was called gaining experience. Now its called being "soft."
Sometimes "the media" just stinks. Which sure seems worse than soft.
Bosh was able to correct the error of his ways in just two days.
Who holds out much hope that "the media" will ever see the error in their ways? Nevermind correct it.