Thursday, October 6, 2016
By USS Blogger Ray Rogers
When thinking of athletes whose careers have been cut short as result of serious physical or medical conditions, many names come to mind including former Los Angeles Raiders running back Bo Jackson, Portland Trail Blazers Shooting Guard Brandon Roy, Cincinnati Bengals linebacker David Pollack, and the late great Boston Celtics small forward Reggie Lewis.
When considering just these four names, Reggie Lewis appears distinctively the most comparable to NBA power forward Chris Bosh. As is the current case with Bosh, Reggie Lewis sought opinions from multiple doctors after learning of a heart problem that caused him to collapse during a 1993 playoff game vs. the Charlotte Hornets. It was reported that Lewis received conflicting diagnosis, but was ultimately told not to engage in any strenuous physical activity. The rest is history as Lewis later on died while reportedly shooting around at Brandeis University in Massachusetts. As former Boston Globe sportswriter Jackie MacMullan put it “his shocking death triggered an unprecedented spasm of grief”. In diverting focus back to Bosh who is battling blood clots, I am in no way implying that the former all star and two time NBA champs’ health is fragile to the degree of imminent risk for death. However, by all indications, a return to the basketball court places him at a serious risk for potential life threatening emergencies such as heart attack and stroke—which are most commonly associated with blood clots. I think it’s also relevant for Bosh to factor in the impact of the recent death of Miami Marlins star pitcher Jose Fernandez that greatly affected the whole community in the Miami area.
Unlike Fernandez, Lewis, Roy, and even Bo Jackson, Bosh is no longer in the prime of his career although his love for the game of basketball appears to remain strong and be the undeniable force behind his ongoing efforts to return. It is understood that prior to money and fame there was the love for the game. And while that shouldn’t necessarily change, maybe this residual love can manifest in a different way such as in coaching or front office work. It essentially boils down to the age old question: “Is it worth it?” A career that already includes nearly 900 regular season games, over 17,000 points scored in the regular season, 11 all-star appearances, Olympic Gold medals, and two NBA championships leads me to ask, why risk it?
My advice to Chris Bosh is to reflect on the past, which includes his accomplishments and achievements. Focus on the present which should largely revolve around family and consider the possibilities of the future. It would be tragic to watch yet another athlete, potentially suffer as result of a stubbornness that often drives these competitors beyond their physical capabilities, ala Muhammad Ali. In my opinion, Chris Bosh will go out on his terms no matter if he is medically cleared to return or not. With this mindset, “Decision 2016” will be the decision to retire.
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