Reporting Tim Kephart
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – While Miami Heat superstar LeBron James is the heart and soul of the Miami Heat, perhaps no player is more important to the team outside of LeBron than center Chris Bosh.
An abdominal injury nearly ended his season during the series against the Indiana Pacers last year. Losing Bosh could have doomed the Heat, but he returned and along with LeBron, Dwyane Wade, and the rest of the team captured the NBA championship.
But the work load is going to increase on Bosh this season. Instead of playing center for just the final few weeks of the postseason, the Heat are likely going to line up Bosh at center this season. That means Bosh will be counted on even more for rebounding and hitting key outside jumpers this season to stretch the opponents defense.
The first thing is to make sure Bosh is healthy. On that front, the 6’10” superstar said he is ready to get the band back together for another run.
“I feel good. I feel real good,” Bosh said. “I’ve been pretty eager to get back with training camp looming and everything. I’m real excited to get back, start working. I’ve been in the gym a few times in the past couple weeks and that itch for basketball is there. I’m glad it’s there and I’m looking forward to this season.”
Believe it or not, Bosh, James, and Wade are entering their 10th season in the NBA. The decision to join up as members of the Miami Heat forced all three into different roles, including Bosh going from the number one option to what some perceived as the forgotten man with LeBron and Wade.
But, as the playoffs proved last season, Bosh’s presence on-court is a must if the Heat want to defend the NBA championship and keep the Larry O’Brien trophy in Miami.
“I know his talent,” Wade said. “I know what he brings to the game.”
Game 7 against Boston was a classic for the Heat, a game where for 13 minutes — a 46-possession span — of the second half, neither team led by more than two points. Bosh changed that for good when he made his career-best third 3-pointer of the night and sparked the burst that pushed Miami to what became a 101-88 win.
Hard to believe that a couple weeks earlier, he could barely walk.
“I remember thinking just before that shot, if it hits my hands, I’m shooting it,” Bosh said. “I don’t really think that one particular shot was a significant moment. There were a lot of significant moments. … The whole time that game was going on, I just knew we were going to win. I didn’t have any doubt in my mind. And every time I touched the ball and I shot the ball in that game, I knew it was going in. That’s just how I felt.”
The biggest key for him now is not feeling the same sort of pain he felt when he got hurt while dunking in Game 1 of the second-round series with Indiana.
It’s been his biggest priority this summer, and will stay that way.
“It’s behind me. But I still have to pay attention to stretching and strengthening all the muscles in the core around it and everything,” Bosh said. “It’s something that I just can’t forget about. I’m not sure if I can re-aggravate it but I’m sure, just like anything, it has the potential to be chronic. If we stay on top of it and continue to do the proper treatment, proper stretching and proper strengthening, I don’t see it being an issue.”
Bosh spent nearly a decade chasing his first NBA title, as did James. Several other players on last season’s Heat roster waited even longer to be fitted for their first championship ring.
The motivation going forward, Bosh said, is easy. He wants the Heat to, as he put it, “get greedy.”
“Winning a championship is only the beginning for this group, and we have to look at it that way,” Bosh said. “We have to look at it as we’re trying to have a dynasty. I think that’s the next thing. The only way you can do that is to have more than one championship. I look at it as a five- to six-year increment, where we’re trying to win as many as possible.”
(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)