Most people view Chris Bosh as a funny, awkward, and sensitive guy. Though he is an excellent player, he is considered the weakest of the Miami Heat’s top three players. And he’s certainly not viewed as the type to fire up his team with an emotional speech, right? Wrong.
Miami Hurricanes basketball coach Jim Larranaga has been crediting Bosh for giving his team the “best five-minute speech” he has ever heard as one of the reasons for the program’s turnaround.
Miami has been known as a football (and baseball) school the past three decades. The basketball team is generally average and has only made the NCAA Tournament once since 2003. But that has all changed this season; the team has gone 22-3 and is ranked No. 2 in the country.
Over the past two weeks, Larranaga has been telling the story of Bosh’s inspirational speech delivered to the team during the summer of 2011:
Two summers ago, Bosh played in a pickup game with some Hurricanes players and was disappointed with their lack of effort. This was right after the Heat lost to the Dallas Mavericks, so Bush was working hard to ensure the Heat won the next season (they did).
Larranaga asked Bosh for his assessment of the team, and Bosh didn’t hold back.
“[Bosh] said, ‘Can I be honest?’ I said, ‘Please.’ He said, ‘Your guys don’t run the floor [and] they don’t work very hard. I barely break a sweat against them. I end up playing on the perimeter taking jump shots because there’s no real physicality, no real speed to the game,’ Larranaga recalled, via the Palm Beach Post.
“I asked him if he would mind sharing that with the team. This was right after [the Heat] had lost in the world championship to Dallas. One day with the whole team in the weight room lifting, I asked him to say a few words. He started out with an emotional message. It was the best five-minute talk I’ve ever heard. He talked about how disappointed he was that he didn’t play better in Game 6 and how disappointed he was that they didn’t win the world championship and he didn’t want to live with that kind of regret and that he was killing himself during that offseason so that the Miami Heat could win the world championship.
“He said, ‘You guys don’t work hard enough. You don’t deserve the success you’d like to have. You can’t compete at the highest level of college basketball with the effort that you’re giving.’ It was just music to my ears because that was the message we were trying to deliver. Coming from Chris Bosh, it meant a whole lot to the team.”
Larranaga says there was a noticeable change in the work ethic and dedication from his players the next summer.
Bosh recalled the speech in recent comments to the Post’s Ethan J. Skolnick.
“We were playing pick-up and we were just disappointed in the intensity that they brought. It’s the little things like that that really matter, that can actually affect what you do in March. We just told them to be more competitive. I just wanted to inspire them to be more competitive and push each other a lot more because the talent that they had…it was unbelievable. I think they just needed to know themselves that they had a chance to do well and they had to start working,” Bosh told Skolnick.
“I just felt compelled to say something. I guess being around college guys it just made me feel inspired because the degree of separation between the good and the great players is very small. I just wanted to let them know if they worked hard, good things would happen.”
His words have definitely paid off. Miami is having its best season ever and is poised to make its deepest run in the tournament in school history. And a lot of that is thanks to Chris Bosh. Who would have figured that?
Photo credit: Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
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