Chris Bosh released the third installment of his self-made documentary on Monday, the same day Miami Heat president Pat Riley felt the need for closure by declaring Bosh's career with the team probably over.
With that, the Heat's Big Three era ended with an unfortunate whimper.
The book on one of the most fascinating periods in NBA history is closed, with the end just as abrupt and surprising as the beginning. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Bosh are all gone, and each of them harbors a level of animus toward the organization where they won two championships along their glamour-filled ride.
And it left Bosh, in the midst of a health and existential crisis, nostalgic for the Heatles era.
"I look back on that time, and I would describe it as epic. And I thought it was going to keep going," Bosh said in his documentary, which carries a now-ironic title of "Rebuilt."
"We had Bron, we had D [Wade]. I realize how special it was now. Back then, we ate together, we practiced together, we played together all the time. We don't have it any more, and I'm tripping. It was just a few years ago -- not even a few -- two years ago, we're playing for a championship. Everybody's gone."
James left to go home to Ohio and tried to exit on good terms. But there have been enough passive-aggressive barbs tossed by James and Riley without mentioning each other's names over the past two years to know that a peaceful breakup was probably impossible. That Bosh was using James' digital media platform, Uninterrupted, to criticize the team in recent days is just another example of their own little war.
Wade walked out on the Heat over the summer, the most popular player in franchise history growing frustrated by a series of contract disputes and perceived disrespect. Riley said Monday he had composed an email to Wade with all of his thoughts on the matter but hadn't yet pushed send. Bosh too had a communication breakdown with the franchise, as the sides ended up corresponding via podcasts, online videos and news releases.
It was a far cry from the "not five, not six, not seven" days. The Heat burned bright, but they also burned fast. The circumstances surrounding the collapse of perhaps the most famous team in league history are complex. There are so many facets to what happened, there is no use trying to assign blame or start finger-pointing. It all just reinforces the fragility of the NBA.
Role players got old and retired. New salary-cap rules ravaged the team's options and led ownership to make hard decisions. James felt the call of home. Riley made some misreads. Bosh ran into a terrible and unforeseen medical issue.
Between 2010-14, the Heat went on a historic organizational winning streak. From their stunning player acquisitions to their sponsorship deals to their promotions to the chic nightclub within the arena, Miami was very much the center of the basketball universe. The White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army" blaring with fans all dressed in white, clapping in unison on the shores of Biscayne Bay, was the essence of cool. James' MVPs and Ray Allen's clutch 3-pointers were the essence of greatness.
It was truly, as Bosh said, epic. And now it's gone with a layer of bitterness floating on the surface.
Riley did what he felt he had to do Monday, as the team was in a difficult corner as it tried to respect Bosh's health struggle while also dealing with the medical and financial realities of the business of basketball. Riley is both eloquent and ruthless -- the combination was a driving force in putting the Heat together. And it played a part in driving it apart.
"I realize how special it was now. Back then, we ate together, we practiced together, we played together all the time. We don't have it any more, and I'm tripping. It was just a few years ago -- not even a few -- two years ago, we're playing for a championship. Everybody's gone."
Chris Bosh, via his documentary series, "Rebuilt"
It is time for the team to move on, the same conclusion James and Wade reached when they were presented with challenging choices. Perhaps they took some of these lessons from Riley, even if those pearls were unintended. Between Riley, James, Wade and Bosh, they have four of the most unique stories in the history of the league. This final chapter fits into a mighty story arc.
At some point in the future, Wade, James and Bosh will be back together in Miami. Jerseys will be retired. Perhaps a statue or two will be erected, cheers will return, the White Stripes' chords with shake the building again. The NBA is always changing. These events are just the latest reminder. Time heals all wounds, and there are wounds on all sides here. Shaquille O'Neal coming back to get his jersey sent to the rafters in a few months is a reminder of that.
Then everyone will reminisce about just how incredible and awesome the Big Three era was and muse about why it all had to end so soon.
It was awesome. And it sure is over.