Will Bosh feel the heat from fans at ACC?

(QMI Agency files)

(QMI Agency files)

MIKE GANTER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:04 PM ET

In a season where wins and losses have all but reached the point of meaningless for the Raptors, Chris Bosh’s first public appearance in Toronto since he left for the Miami Heat last summer at least provides a nice distraction.

Perhaps even more anticipated than what the Raptors do against Bosh and his new mates on Wednesday night at the ACC is the reception Bosh will get from the jilted Toronto basketball fans.

An expectation of warm and fuzzy will not be the order of the day.

Bosh left the Raptors after seven years for what no one can argue are greener pastures, but perhaps even more than the fact that he chose to leave is what he said on his way out the door and what he said once he was already gone will play into how he is received Wednesday night.

Bosh’s departure will forever be coloured by the peremptory “Should I stay or should I go” tweet that only served to alienate much of whatever support he had left in this city. Then there were the post-departure justifications and barbs he threw Toronto’s way after he was already comfortably ensconced in Miami.

Really, did he believe he was justifying his decision when he boasted of his ability to get the NBA League Pass in Miami which he couldn’t do in Toronto or was he just piling on a slew of shots he took at his old home team?

Depending on one’s level of sensitivity to such things, Bosh will either have a quiet reception or a noisy, negative one.

The one area where he will not have to worry about negative reactions is from the Raptor bench.

There are only six players left on the roster who played with Bosh — Jose Calderon, Andrea Bargnani, Reggie Evans, Sonny Weems, Amir Johnson and DeMar DeRozan.

Head coach Jay Triano knows Bosh as well as anyone while Alex English, Alvin Williams, Micah Nori and Eric Hughes all dealt with Bosh during some or all of his seven years with the organization as members of he coaching staff.

Some believe he will be booed, others aren’t sure what to think, but none believe he deserves to be booed.

Call it brothers in arms or the bond of teammates or whatever, the idea of Bosh being booed just doesn’t seem to compute with his ex-teammates.

“I don’t know,” Amir Johnson said when asked if he thought Bosh deserved to be booed Wednesday. “It’s up to the fans. I don’t think he did like what LeBron (James) did (to Cleveland), but I’m expecting some boos, definitely.”

Reggie Evans suggested if the fans saw Bosh’s move for what it was — a business decision to play for a championship team — the thought of booing him would never even enter their minds.

“No, I wouldn’t boo him. He was my teammate,” Evans said. “He just made a business decision. It wasn’t a personal thing. He just said he wanted to play for the Miami Heat. It’s not a loyal business. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played for two teams. (Michael Jordan) played for two teams. There is no loyalty in this business. It’s a business.”

It was then suggested to Evans that a Raptor could endear himself to the home crowd real quick with a hard foul at Bosh’s expense.

Evans was having none of that. For one, he’s not ready to return to the court yet so he won’t be in the lineup on Wednesday, but even if he were, Evans has no beef with Bosh and hard fouls in Evans’ world aren’t handed out lightly.

“I wouldn’t foul Chris hard,” Evans said. “The only way I foul somebody hard is somebody would have to do something to me or my teammates. That’s the only thing that will trigger me to react like that. I would try to grab a guy to prevent him from getting an and one but just to foul hard, no. I would not do that.

“Chris is a professional. Great teammate. First class guy, on time, worked hard. He did great on the court, so I have nothing negative to say about him.”

Jose Calderon, one of Bosh’s closest friends during his seven years in Toronto, says off the court Bosh remains his friend, but once the ball is tipped, he’s just like anyone else not wearing a Raptors jersey, an opponent.

“When he was here he was a great teammate and a great friend. He played really good for us,” Calderon said. “He got us a lot of wins. After that it’s up to the fans. I wasn’t here when everything happened in the summer so I really don’t know what is going on. But we’ll see what happens.”

Perhaps that is why the players don’t seem to share the same level of anger the mere mention of Bosh’s name seems to bring out in Toronto basketball circles. They weren’t here for the tease. It’s not their hometown that has been repeatedly slighted.

The fans are another story. They’ll have their say Wednesday night.


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