<
>

In Toronto, Bosh lacks VC's villain status

Bruce Arthur of the National Post notes that the grief Chris Bosh received in Toronto on Wednesday night was nothing compared to what Raptors fans showered on Vince Carter upon his earlier returns. That's because the aggregate love for Carter over the years far outweighed the affection Toronto had for Bosh, and Carter's split with the team was considerably uglier:

When Vince Carter left the Toronto Raptors, when he flat quit on them and forced one of the most ungainly trades in NBA history, the passion boiled. When Chris Bosh left as a free agent to chase paradise in Miami, the passion bubbled here and there. For all his good work in Toronto, people liked Chris Bosh. People loved Vince.

Arthur writers that Bosh was hardly a model divorcee. The perception among many who follow and root for the Raptors has been that Bosh was glib through the deliberation process. Among Bosh's catalog of misdemeanors:

Bosh remains unaware of why Toronto would be angry with him -- despite his tongue-in-cheek "should I stay or should I go?" tweet from April, his disingenuous tweets the morning it as reported he was signing in Miami, his complaint about not getting "the good cable" in Toronto. Despite his admission that as a free agent, he toyed with people's emotions. And most of all, despite the way he never thanked a single employee after leaving; the way he either talked about Toronto like it was a cage -- on the court, he meant -- or practically pretended it didn't exist.

Bosh has an interesting manner with the media and one that's hard to classify. Like LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, he's not terribly accessible, but he's far more revealing than either James or Wade. When Bosh was pressing early in the season, his tone was very confessional and didn't seem the least bit uncomfortable discussing his struggles. There might not be a Top 20 player in the league who has an easier time untethering both his game and his persona as professional athlete from his mood when he's standing before the press. A bad game can be described in very detached terms. His departure from Toronto can seem almost incidental. An off-handed comment about wanting to chill sounds flip. To those vested in their team, their city or the game, this style can be very disarming.

When asked on Wednesday night if he could've been received warmly had he behaved differently, Bosh was dismissive. He suggested that there was a set pattern in Toronto, whereby departing stars are uniformly jeered. But Arthur isn't so sure:

He's wrong. If he hadn't been so flippant, so airy, so much less mature-seeming than when he was here, it would have been different. When Ilgauskas left Cleveland, his home of 14 years, he took out a full-page newspaper ad. He showed the fans he cared. Bosh didn't.

Was Bosh careless or merely care-free during his last several months in Toronto?