Save the venom for Vince

MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:04 AM ET

Chris Bosh gave Toronto a chance.

He could have left four years ago. He didnít.

He chose to stay and hopefully be part of a winning franchise. Clearly that didnít happened, but it wasnít because of Chris Bosh.

In fact, when it comes right down to it, the franchise failed Bosh. Bosh didnít fail the franchise.

We point this out so those of you busily searching for bristol board and marker and readying your lungs for a night full of booing and jeering when Bosh does make his first return to Toronto in Miami Heat colours will stop and think a minute.

That is the expected response to Bosh leaving. Booing guys who leave town is something we do well in Toronto. And in cases like Vince Carter, it is justified ... even years after the fact.

But in Boshís case, this isnít the proper response.

Chris Bosh is not Vince Carter. He does not deserve the same treatment. Carter quit on this franchise. He basically pouted his way out of town. Bosh did not.

When Bosh was here and healthy, he played to win. Seven years trying to make this franchise better, albeit seven well-paid years, deserves at least that consideration.

And Bosh didnít turn tail and run at his first opportunity. He sat down, analyzed the situation and felt he owed it to the franchise to give it a chance.

It was only after the organization failed on multiple occasions to build a championship core around him, that Bosh went looking elsewhere.

Even four years ago, when he signed that three-year extension with a player option, he was putting the onus on the franchise to build around him.

Not even LeBron James by himself can make an NBA team a championship team.

The right pieces around a player have to be collected and allowed to grow together for a championship team to come together.

For Bosh, this never happened. Since he re-upped, there have been a string of re-builds, none that have panned out.

From Jason Kapono and Carlos Delfino to Jermaine OíNeal to Shawn Marion to Hedo Turkoglu, none provided that second quality scorer who could consistently mesh with Bosh and get the Raptors over the hump.

Be upset with Bosh for choosing to leave if you must, but to give him the Carter treatment every time he shows his face in Toronto from this day forward is not just classless, itís unfair.

Weíll concede there were things to dislike about his departure.

You donít have to like the fact that Bosh talked about going where he would be the star, the No. 1 option and the guy everyone else would fall in line behind and then turned around and agreed to play second fiddle to Dwyane Wadeís lead. Who knows? By Thursday night, he might be the third option if James opts for Miami too.

You donít have to like the fact that Bosh seemed to enjoy his departure a little too much. Yes, all those tweets about this day finally arriving and how heís been longing for this for four years were a little tough to stomach at times.

But behind even this was that one constant from Bosh. He just wants to win.

Maybe, at one point, he felt like he wanted to be the man, but perhaps, like the rest of us who have watched him for the better part of his career, he figured out heís a great complement on a great team, but not necessarily a first option. And weighing his options, he decided he could forego a little pride to be part of a winner.

As for his tweets, well, thatís been Bosh the better part of his career. Can you blame him for being excited about the prospect of teaming up with one (and possibly a second) perennial all-star. Here in Toronto, it might have sounded like a guy rubbing it in a little, but to Bosh, down in Dallas, he was likely a little star-struck just thinking about the possibilities.

So put down the bristol board and the marker. Donít worry about saving your voice. Weíre not suggesting you have to cheer his return, but save the vitriol for the real quitters.

mike.ganter@sunmedia.ca


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