I was on the subway Thursday, focusing on reaching Level 16 of BrickBreaker when the two people next to me started talking about the Raptors.
“Did you see that game — Kobe beat them, Bosh got hurt” one said.
“No, I heard Bosh is leaving though,” the other replied.
“No, that’s just a rumour” said the first one.
“I think he’s leaving,” retorted the second one.
What I deduced from this exchange, other than that Person A must not be a Rogers cable customer, is that perception is indeed reality.
Whether Chris Bosh is on his way out of Toronto or not, many have already made up their mind that he is.
This attitude will thrill Stephen A. Smith and the told-you-so, basketball-hating puckheads out there, but the fact is we’ve been down this exact road before.
In 2000-01, everyone assumed Vince Carter was skipping town. He needed to be in a major U.S. market, common logic dictated, in order to become a more effective Nike salesman.
However, all that flew out the window when he signed a seven-year extension with the Raptors in that hot pre-9/11 summer.
Of course, his competence, determination and drive to succeed — and even just play — may have disappeared the second he signed that contract, but the reality is he did re-sign long term when nobody expected he would.
Revisionist historian Smith, who appeared on The Score TV network Wednesday to discuss his latest scoop, mentioned this and got his facts wrong, saying Carter wanted to leave to pursue bigger endorsements.
Funny thing, after Carter re-signed in Toronto, the Raptor seemed to be everywhere, from Nike “Da Funk” and Gatorade commercials to having his jersey plastered all over a Fat Joe video. The irony now is that because he’s less relevant and he plies his trade in the swampy, industrial suburbs of North Jersey, you can’t find him on TV these days.
Smith believes it is for this marketing reason Bosh will depart Toronto too. Naturally, this holds some water — Toronto is not New York, and Chris Bosh is not the old Vince Carter.
The scary part for Raptors fans is that the teams known to be actively clearing cap space for 2010 — Gotham, Miami and Dallas (Bosh’s hometown) fall into that category of being “bigger and better” from a marketing standpoint than Toronto.
But beyond those teams, what’s left? Detroit?
Yeah, moving to a city that has been shrinking and decaying for decades in the midst of the worst economic calamity in a century for marketing purposes.
On the other hand, Bosh is not a once-in-a-lifetime player and his camp has never indicated that he wants the “Global Icon” title LeBron James covets.
Just remember that in 2001, Smith and other pundits blared for months that Carter was going to Washington to play with Michael Jordan.
But if CB4 does want out, the Raptors’ trade leverage just took a major hit.
– John Chick is Metro’s Sports Editor. Feel free to email him at firstname.lastname@example.org