Chris Bosh makes it a homecoming while enjoying the All-Star weekend in Dallas. But with what he’s been saying of late, it seems that his heart lies back here in Toronto. He’s been talking about recruiting other players, and letting them know what the city has to offer, and he doesn’t appear to see that as a major challenge. Of course winning would help that whole process along nicely. So let’s hope that continues to happen, and the current culture around the whole team takes root enough to lure in some more talent into Bosh’s long, welcoming arms.

But how does Bosh get past the perceived notion that he’s in the Great White North where all that really matters is hockey and curling? How does he get over not being in the USA himself? Hears how he puts things in a pretty nice perspective –

“It is a hockey town, but they know what basketball is. They cheer when the ball goes in, and when we win they cheer even more. It’s a pretty simple game. People follow basketball all over the world. So for people who say its a hockey town, its getting a little old.”

What really screams out at me in those words, is his expressing a basketball connection to the rest of the world. He’s travelled all over the world as a basketball player over the last few years. There’s been a training camp in Italy and Spain, Team USA commitments in China, Japan, a trip to Jose Calderon’s camp in Spain. He’s seen the world, and maybe feels that much more connected to the world while in Toronto, even while being a little less connected to the US.

And he’s reached a stage where he’s confident enough that he can look past any sense of being a little isolated from regular US media attention. He wants a team built around him, and not to have to defer to someone else when it comes to making players better. He can do that here while putting out his DVDs, and with some more winning, getting plenty of attention south of the border.

But winning is going to be the most important part of the puzzle. He can’t just be Chris Bosh and make everything golden. He needs to be Chris Bosh of a Toronto Raptor team that accomplishes something, and looks to continue to cash in on a promising future right here. Jay Triano needs to demonstrate that his relationship with Bosh is important enough to making that happen, to the point where Bosh feels that not only can he make him a better player, but that he can make it possible to make everyone around him progressively better, while real stability over the next four years provides consistent gains year after year. Bosh has seen how hard sudden change can be for any free agent, and he has seen how teams like Atlanta, Orlando, Denver and Utah have grown in a fairly stable environment over time.

A deal still has to be done, along with the winning, so I don’t want to get ahead of myself as a fan, or have Chris Bosh get ahead of himself as a player. It’s just that this is the first time in 15 years where I have felt some degree of confidence that this team can reach a level where winning gets a little easier and the hard work can be applied to some really lofty goals. And if Bosh feels anything like that, then maybe he realizes what kind of a chance he has to help build something that lasts, and to stand as a pillar of a successful NBA team. I like how grounded he has been, and how able to weather all the ups and downs he has become. For him to go somewhere else and defer to a Wade or a Lebron or whoever, would just be a shame. It feels like his time is coming while the US media has suggested for so long that he’s in danger of wasting time on a bad team, or as a franchise player that can’t quite fill such a role. If he keeps on working he can show the US media that this game belongs to the whole world, and that he can define his role in that world quite aptly.

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