Chris Bosh is a great basketball player but his intelligence and IQ are criminally underrated. The 6'11 Miami Heat star is a rarity in sports as he combined basketball skills with equally impressive grades during his academic career. In his only year at Georgia Tech he studied computer coding and was a part of an after-school group called the Whiz Kids.
Yes, an NBA player with a working brain is hard to to imagine, but as mentioned, Bosh is a special case.
And Bosh's intellect brings us to the matter in hand. Prior to the start of the 2014-15 season, he shocked everyone by saying something that appeared as a gibe towards his freshly former teammate LeBron James. Instead of remembering the time they spent together with fond memories, Bosh revealed how difficult it is for another star player to co-exist with the four-time MVP.
The timing was important because the Cleveland Cavaliers had just signed Kevin Love – a star forward similar in stature to what Bosh was when he formed the Big 3 with the King in Miami four years ago.
"Yeah, it's a lot more difficult taking a step back, because you're used to doing something a certain way and getting looks a certain way," he told Bleacher Report. "And then it's like, well, no, for the benefit of the team, you have to get it here.”
"So even if you do like the left block, the volume of the left block is going to be different. Now you have to make those moves count. So with me, it was like a chess game. I'm doing this move and thinking about the next move and trying to stay five moves ahead. You're not getting it as much. If you got one or two a game, it's a lot different."
Speaking from his own experience, Bosh then warned Love of what lies ahead by saying: "You just get your entree and that's it. It's like, wait a minute, I need my appetizer and my dessert and my drink, what are you doing? And my bread basket. What is going on? I'm hungry! It’s a lot different. But if you can get through it, good things can happen. But it never gets easy. Even up until my last year of doing it, it never gets easier."
Coming into the season, experts expected Love to take some time in adjusting to his new role but were also sure that he would eventually turn into Bosh 2.0. Playoffs and finals were a given.
The only problem is that 13 games into the new season, Love hasn't shown many signs of getting used to NOT being the main man. He is not even the first-choice sidekick. From being the single most important person in Minnesota, he has become a big name liability on a dysfunctional team.
The Cavs did end their four-game skid with a 74-106 home win, but it came against the Orlando Magic (6-10) – a team without a single star player. While LeBron looked back to his best, Love's numbers were still a shadow of what they used to be when he was the main superstar of the Wolves.
Kyrie Irving has borne the least of LeBron's brunt, primarily because he is the ball handler and gets as many touches as he wants. But Love looked lost even on a decent night. Against the Magic, he scored 12 on a 5/11 shooting and grabbed just eight rebounds, a far cry from his career averages of 19.2 and 12.2, respectively.
History tells us that the Heat had similar problems in the Big 3's early days. Hell, they even got embarrassed in the NBA finals against the Dallas Mavericks before winning back-to-back championships. But to get to the point, Bosh had to make a lot of adjustments, which Love at the moment, isn't. His insistence on getting touches down in the low block isn't helping. The need is for him to get out of his comfort zone and develop into a complementary player who doesn't shy away from learning new things.
The only reason the Miami Heat got things going was because Bosh adjusted, and not because James suddenly started doing things differently. As great as he is, the game's best player isn't the most ideal of teammates, especially for fellow superstars. The sooner Love realizes that and alters his game, the betters it will be.