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Old 05-09-2011, 12:36 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Bosh yet to cash in on new found fame

The Miami Heat settled into its normal pre-game publicity ritual at AmericanAirlines Arena late last week. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade traded quips and laughs before a clutch of national reporters. Off to the side, Chris Bosh lounged on an exercise machine, waiting for his first interview of the day.

No one expected the Three Kings to share equally in the spoils this season. But even as a member of the most celebrated basketball alliance in a generation, Bosh is still waiting for entree into sports-marketing royalty.

Aside from an existing Nike apparel deal, he has yet to star in a major national advertising campaign. His biggest post-Heat endorsement deal appears to be a Miami auto dealership once represented by Wade. He’s far more famous, but apparently not richer.

“I haven’t benefited yet,” said Bosh, a 27-year-old power forward who signed with Miami after spending seven years with the Toronto Raptors. “I just concentrate on playing basketball, and that will take care of everything else.”
As he gained fame in the NBA, the 6-foot-10 Bosh demonstrated a knack for winning fans. Online comedy skits portraying him as a hard-core parking meter enforcer went viral. In 2008, he posed as a used car dealer in a video campaign urging fans to vote him onto the NBA All-Star team. (“Filling out these ballots are easy as cow tipping, ain’t that right, Bubba?’’ Bosh said to a sidekick on the spot.) It worked and Bosh played alongside future teammates James and Wade.

“He was basically Top Dog in this city,” said Amin Toda, president of One Method Digital and Design, a Toronto creative firm that helped Bosh with video and online projects. “He went down there and said, Listen my career is basketball. All the other things I do are chump change compared to what these guys make just on their salaries. Let me go win something and let that be my legacy.’’’

Unlike James and Wade, Bosh needs a championship to become an A-list player in the endorsement game, said Ryan Steelberg, president of Brand Affinity.

“I’ll bet those negotations are going on right now,’’ he said. “Before he gets too expensive.’’ Brand Affinity Technologies measures publicity for celebrities, and its latest basketball ranking has Bosh in the No. 6 slot, behind (in order) James, Kobe Bryant, Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Derrick Rose.

Yet his endorsement footprint hasn’t expanded with his fame. Perhaps more telling, Bosh himself isn’t courting the kind of exposure he once generated in Canada. While he allowed a film crew to document his own decision-making on Miami last summer, that film hasn’t been released. His last Twitter posting was Nov. 21, and chrisbosh.com — once the online hub for his All-Star campaign — hasn’t been updated since he left Toronto.

“At one point and time in my career, I was caught up in it, but it doesn’t matter now,’’ Bosh said after the James and Wade news conference had ended late last week.

“If it comes, it comes,’’ he said of a Three Kings windfall. “If it doesn’t, it doesn’t.’’
LINK - Miami Herald
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