“This place has a very special place in my heart,” said two-time NBA champion Chris Bosh as University of Miami students welcomed him to the third floor of the Shalala Student Center.
On Thursday evening, What Matters to U (WMTU) executed this semester’s final speaker event. Bosh, the keynote presenter, looked back fondly on the tough days he experienced on campus at the U as a Miami Heat star.
“10 years ago when we were trying to win a championship, I was up here every day lifting weights,” the Basketball Hall of Famer said.
Bosh played a single season of collegiate basketball at Georgia Tech before eventually submitting his name in the 2003 NBA Draft. The power forward was selected fourth overall in the first round by the Toronto Raptors. He would go on to become one-third of the Miami Heat’s “Big Three” alongside Lebron James and Dwyane Wade and lead the team to 4 back-to-back NBA finals appearances.
The 11-time NBA All-Star talked about stepping outside of comfort zones, the formula to success and how to “rebound” from the curveballs that life will throw your way.
Most importantly, Bosh emphasized how important it was for students to be prepared, work hard and stay focused because there will always be someone willing to “work harder than you and pass you by.”
This mentality led Bosh to become an Olympic gold medalist. In 2008, he played alongside Lebron James, Dwyane Wade, and Kobe Bryant, known as the “Redeem Team,” to dominate the court against Spain and bring the gold medal back home to the U.S. In 2022, Netflix released a documentary about the four underdogs fighting for redemption.
In 2010, Bosh would sign to become completely immersed in the Heat culture before his NBA career ended abruptly in February 2016. Doctors discovered a blood clot in his leg.
“I almost lost my life,” Bosh said. “Things sometimes don’t happen the way you want them to.”
He noted that while he built himself back up post-diagnosis, it wasn’t the same.
“I’m still bouncing back,” Bosh said.
The basketball star was able to embrace the change after “coming within inches of losing your life” and admits that he now only plays basketball when his kids want to.
Bosh is no stranger to hardship. His biggest challenge? Coaching his children — his own “starting five.”
“I always try to set the example,” Bosh said. Whether he’s making sure to speak clearly or crossing off his household chores from the to-do list, Bosh realizes his kids look up to their parents to “emulate what success looks like.”
“It helped give me a purpose. Even after I lost the game, I had my kids,” Bosh said.
Student attendees came excited for the event. Throughout the crowd, you could see audience members decked out in Miami Heat gear, including jerseys with Bosh’s last name and retired number.
“If you asked me years ago if I’d be sharing the stage with Chris Bosh, I wouldn’t believe you,” said Kaylin Yudice, a senior global health studies major and a student moderator for the event.
“I’ll always cherish the memories that [that] Miami Heat team brought me,” Yudice said.
As a Miami native, she was honored to play a role in the unforgettable event.
Lia Mussie, a junior ecosystem science & policy and political science major, was surprised to learn about Bosh’s medical complications bringing his NBA career to an early halt.
Throughout the discussion, Bosh noted that if it had been up to him, he would be playing basketball professionally “to this day.”
“That original dream that he had was gone,” Mussie said. Though Bosh’s career plan took a detour, Mussie was relieved to hear that “working hard, having a dream and picturing yourself being successful can lead you to something that will still make you happy in the end.”
As Bosh relives the glory days, he also looks forward to the future. His book “Letters to a Young Athlete” takes its readers on a journey from being named “Mr. Basketball” in high school up to the moment his NBA career ended unexpectedly in a doctor’s office. Within the novel, Bosh imparts wisdom on how to move forward after an out-of-the-blue life event.
“Summer is coming,” Bosh said. The family man is excited for his son to turn 11 in the coming months, though his main priority is to be present and “take it slow.” A subtle mention at the slight possibility that the self-starter entrepreneur may want to go back to school, UM students can only hope he’ll find his way back to his second home here in Miami.