Bosh unfazed by all-star whispers

BILL HARRIS -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:13 AM ET

If Chris Bosh believed everything his family told him, he wouldn't be merely an NBA all-star. He would be prime minister of Canada, governor of Texas, poet laureate and possibly pope.

But Bosh, the second-year Raptors forward who predictably has been chosen to play in the sophomores-versus-rookies game during the NBA's all-star weekend in Denver next month, said he can't afford to get caught up in the possibility of being selected to play in the main all-star game.

"Yeah, it's in the back of my mind, only because of my friends and family," Bosh said with a laugh yesterday in Charlotte, N.C., where his Raptors played the expansion Bobcats.

"They say: 'Well, maybe you have a chance.' And I say: 'Maybe, but I'm not going to get my hopes up.' It is the all-star game. It's the best players in the world. So I'm not all that concentrated on it."

His family is more gung-ho.

"Well, to them, I'm the best player," Bosh said. "They're just being optimistic about the situation."

Full rosters for the main all-star game will be announced in a week and a half. Does Bosh have much of a chance, realistically?

To be honest, the odds aren't great.

But the fact Bosh even is in the conversation proves how well he has been playing, especially since the Raptors traded Vince Carter to the New Jersey Nets.

Bosh's popularity is not to the point where he has any prayer of being voted to start for the Eastern Conference. Fan balloting determines the starters.

The way things look now, Carter and Grant Hill of the Orlando Magic will be the starting forwards, LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers and Allen Iverson of the Philadelphia 76ers will be the guards, and Shaquille O'Neal of the Miami Heat will be at centre.

Eastern coaches vote on the seven reserves for the all-star squad. Coaches can't pick their own guys, but Bosh would get Raptors coach Sam Mitchell's vote if it were allowed.

CONSIDERATION

"If you look at all the power forwards in the East, I think (Bosh's) numbers warrant consideration," Mitchell said. "It would be a great thing if he did, but I don't think it would be the worst thing in his career if he didn't. From our standpoint, we know it would be a huge boost to Chris, and I'd like to see him make it."

As far as forwards are concerned, Bosh is up against the likes of Jermaine O'Neal of the Indiana Pacers, Rasheed Wallace of the Detroit Pistons and Antawn Jamison of the Washington Wizards.

There's no quota on how many forwards must be added. So it doesn't help Bosh's cause that the East is heavy in star guards (Dwyane Wade of the Heat, Paul Pierce of the Boston Celtics, Jason Kidd of the Nets, Steve Francis of the Orlando Magic and Stephon Marbury of the New York Knicks), not to mention the certainty that one or two centres will be added as well (Ben Wallace of the Pistons, Zydrunas Ilgauskas of the Cavs and Eddy Curry of the Chicago Bulls are among the candidates).

All things considered, it's probably a year too early for the 20-year-old Bosh. And to be blunt, the sophomores-versus-rookies game isn't much of a prize when measured against a few extra days off.

But down the road, the Raptors are counting on Bosh being an annual all-star.

"You would hope so," Mitchell said. "But nothing is given. Chris has to stay humble, keep working and keep getting better."

So staying humble is important, huh?

As nice as it is for Bosh to have a supportive family, he should tune them out once in a while.


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