MIAMI - When it was over, when he could fully comprehend what had happened and where he now finally was at in his professional career, Chris Bosh was jubilant.
He washed away — literally — years of frustration and losing with $160 bottles of Dom Perignon and this time, his tears were borne of joy, not of bitter disappointment.
Bosh, the Toronto Raptors' all-time leader in most categories, was at last a champion after nine years, seven of them spent in Toronto.
Bosh took a lot of flack for breaking down after the Heat crumbled against Dallas in the NBA final a year ago. He said he used that failure as motivation.
“Man it was everything for me. Just erasing those memories, getting that bad taste out of my mouth. I live with that every time I walk down that hall. I forgot cameras were there, but whatever. But I think it was good for me in the long run … that helped me build my will,” Bosh said of his public meltdown.
“I know a bunch of people made fun of me and said I was soft, but you can’t be soft playing this game, especially at (centre). I just wanted it so bad, I didn’t care what anybody said. I didn't care what anybody thought. All I thought about was pushing forward to get that trophy.”
Bosh said he wouldn’t change anything about his career path, including his history with the Raptors.
“I’ll just say this one thing. I went through a lot of growing pains in Toronto and it was all worth it. Just my time there, my experience there grew me into the person I am today,” Bosh told the Toronto Sun.
“So I just want to thank all of the supporters who supported me the whole time, because without them, I wouldn’t be here.”
Bosh elaborated a few minutes later when he met the full media throng.
“It wasn’t the best of times all the time out there in T.O., we had a lot of losing seasons, but we had a lot of good times as well. I built a lot of character out there because night in, night out, no matter what happened I came out and worked and that wasn’t the easiest thing to do, but each year I believed in my team. I kept working … so when I came here I came here a better player,” he said.
“They asked me to play a different role here, but it was all in the sacrifice of winning. I kept telling them whenever you need me to put some points on the board, I’m going to be here.”