‘Miami has been a great place to grow for me’

"I had the experience of a lifetime in 2008. I am very proud of that. Not many people have been able to win a gold medal at the Olympics. I had such a great time interacting with other athletes and enjoying my Olympic experience," says Chris Bosh in this interview with G. Viswanath.-

“I had the experience of a lifetime in 2008. I am very proud of that. Not many people have been able to win a gold medal at the Olympics. I had such a great time interacting with other athletes and enjoying my Olympic experience,” says Chris Bosh in this interview with G. Viswanath.

Chris Bosh, a power forward for NBA champion Miami Heat, hopes to see more kids take up basketball through the NBA initiatives in India. Bosh spoke to Sportstar during his recent visit to the country. Excerpts:

Question: What does NBA mean to children in America?

Answer: We are the role models for the kids in America. We set examples. When I was young, I had heroes and they all played basketball in NBA. I try to keep that in mind when I am on court and when I represent myself and my family. I have to showcase that I am a positive person to the community and work hard. I use basketball as a foundation to showcase the message of positivity.

Young Americans must be keen to make it big through NBA.

We want the kids to chase dreams. We want to encourage them to work hard to fulfil those dreams. The kids know that only a small percentage can be part of the NBA. I try to ensure that they pursue their dreams including education. I played a little bit of baseball, but I was never serious about it. It was always basketball for me. I am a lucky guy.

How does an NBA star deal with celebrity status?

It comes along with your job. When you are successful in anything, you are going to be some kind of celebrity. Of course you have to use it in a good way. Sometimes guys take celebrity status for granted and they don’t use it properly. And kids are watching; they are very smart. You cannot underestimate them. You have to know that you have to be always a walking, talking symbol of success in a proper and positive way, on and off the court.

Where does NBA stand in comparison with athletics and baseball, which are also big time sports in America?

Sports is huge everywhere in the USA. People love sports. It amazes me all the time why everyone loves it (sports) so much. People like to talk about it, watch it at a professional level. Sports is the staple activity of the people. It gives people a lot of hope. It brings people together. The more people like it (sports) the better it is. It’s difficult to choose between basketball, athletics and baseball. I grew up playing everything, as a child you want to do a bunch of different things. As time goes on, you eventually figure out what you want to do. Sometimes the sport chooses you and basketball chose me. I loved playing the game and I developed into a pretty good player.

Ten years in NBA (Toronto Raptor to Miami Heat), it has been a long time for you.

I have grown up a lot as a player. I have had a lot of life experience as a professional. Lot of people don’t make 10 years in NBA. I am very proud of the fact that I have made it that far and the amount of success I have had, I want to continue to build on that success and be as happy as possible. It was a very difficult decision (to move from Raptors to Heat), but I felt at that time it was necessary. It was not easy, the last two years have been difficult, but it has been great. I have grown as a man and learned a lot more about the business of basketball. Miami has been a great place to grow for me as a player and person.

It is a remarkable season for Heat; the team won back-to-back titles. You made Game 6 memorable.

I don’t know how we pulled through that (game 6). Sometimes you trust in what you do. We were in a serious situation wherein we were staring at losing everything that we had worked for. To really not to panic and continue to execute in very intense situation says a lot about from where we came as a team, how far we have come along and what we can do as long as we stick together and believe in ourselves.

Stats have become an integral part of basketball. Do you go through it before a match?

Stats are part of the game. It helps to improve as a player. People pay attention to stats. But you cannot worry about all those things often. I like to go out there and play the game, you cannot worry about missing shots etc. You have to put everything behind you and move on with the game.

What was your feeling after winning the gold in the 2008 Beijing Olympics?

I had the experience of a lifetime in 2008. I am very proud of that. Not many people have been able to win a gold medal at the Olympics. But more important than winning the gold was the experience. I had such a great time interacting with other athletes and enjoying my Olympic experience.

LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are rated as superstars. It’s said you were the third part of the Miami Heat dynasty?

I am all about the team; I can only control what I can bring to the game and to the team. I have never been a person about popularity. I am honoured to be in the same team as those guys. I get to watch them every day so I understand why people love them. I just do my job and people respect me; that’s great. If I don’t get attention, that’s fine with me.