Chris Bosh did a little espionage last summer. His mission: To uncover what rival NBA teams said about him in their scouting reports, and to correct any perceived weaknesses.
"I juiced 'em for information," said Bosh, the Raptors' sophomore forward/centre who resisted the urge to wear a trench coat and a 1940s-style fedora. "There were like six or seven people ... college pals, buddies, coaches."
Bosh said he gathered his information by word of mouth, rather than waiting in an underground parking lot and being handed a manila envelope by someone known only as Mr. X.
"I meant to actually get my hands on a scouting report, but I never did," Bosh said. "One of our assistant coaches got hold of a couple, though, and he told me what was on them."
An assistant coach, huh?
Without exposing anyone, let's just say it was the only holdover on the coaching staff, and the only Canadian, too.
Oh, to heck with it, it was Jay Triano, okay?
The point is, the 6-foot-10 Bosh gained an understanding of what his opponents thought he did well, and what traits they identified as exploitable.
First, the good stuff.
What did the reports say that Bosh liked?
"They said I'm a shooting threat, I can knock some shots down," Bosh said. "Let's see, what else? Oh yeah, be aware of me on the offensive glass because I don't crash every time, but I'm slippery and I can get to it a couple of times.
"That's good for two or three rebounds a game and that's enough when you're talking about offensive rebounds. That's about it."
That's not bad, though. By most standards, Bosh had a solid rookie campaign, averaging 11.5 points and 7.4 rebounds in 75 games.
But what did the reports say that Bosh didn't like?
"They said I don't go right," said the left-handed Bosh, who then offered a sly smile. "I go right now. I make it a point to emphasize going right in practice. The tougher you are to guard, the more effective you are in this league."
"Uh, the reports also said I don't really have any back-down moves," said Bosh, 20. "But the scouting report on me wasn't very thick last year.
"This year I'll add a couple of things, like, 'He can go right, runs the floor well.' We're going to play more of a running style, so that should help me. If I add things like that, people will be more attentive, and it will open up the court."
Being an NBA player is sort of like being an undercover agent. Once your cover is blown, you have to re-invent yourself.
The good news for Bosh is that he has a year of NBA experience under his belt, and he knows he can play. The bad news is everyone else knows he can play, too.
"Well, I got stronger," said the slender Bosh, who admitted he gained fewer than five pounds in the off-season. "I've been lifting hard, but my weight goes up and down. It depends on my day. It fluctuates pretty often.
"I couldn't just bank on adding weight because if I did that I'd be in trouble right now. But I wanted to make sure I stayed in the weight room, getting ready for those big guys.
"As a second-year player, I know I can't sneak up on anybody anymore. But that doesn't mean I still can't take somebody by surprise."
Spoken like a natural spy.
Maybe he'll wear a disguise. Maybe he'll use the latest top-secret gadget from headquarters. Maybe he'll perform a series of death-defying stunts with such physical aplomb that he won't even wrinkle his tuxedo.
His name is Bosh.