The Miami Heat begin training camp in six days. It’s unclear, exactly, if Chris Bosh will be there, or if he is, to what extent he will be participating. Bosh, who believes he is healthy enough to play, has been applying pressure to the Heat this offseason, and he is now pressing even harder as the season inches closer.
Today, Bosh released the first episode of “Rebuilt,” a self-directed documentary about his recovery from blood clotting, on The Uninterrupted, a Players Tribune-esque publication affiliated with Bleacher Report and LeBron James. The big news revealed in the initial offering comes near the end: After a second clot was discovered in his leg during last season’s All-Star break, Bosh was told by Heat doctors that his career was likely over. Further, Bosh says that he felt as if he was “written off” by the team. Via ESPN:
“Seeing the team doctors, they told me that my season is over, my career is probably over and this just happens, this is just how it is,” Bosh said. “I felt right away that I was written off. It was [claps his hands together] put it to the side matter-of-factly. If a doctor tells me, ‘Hey that’s it and this is how that is,’ and I don’t buy that. I have the right to disagree with you.”
The video includes images of Bosh in his hospital bed, but it’s intercut with footage of him practicing his post moves and jumper—which is to say that it’s part “documentary” and part propaganda. Bosh has used various forms of media to make it very clear to the public that he intends to play this season and would not be risking his life by doing so. Bosh telling the world that he felt forgotten by the Heat doctors can only be considered an escalation of this campaign.
The Heat, meanwhile, have been playing their own PR game, albeit one that is far more cautious. Team owner Mickey Arison named Bosh as a member of the team in a letter to fans in August, and then a few weeks later Arison tweeted at Bosh to tell him that he is “looking forward to seeing [him] in camp.” Still, the Heat have not cleared him to play, so ultimately no progress has been made.
To that extent, Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald reported today that Bosh is undergoing tests administered by the team. Jackson writes that Bosh expects to be cleared after the results are studied, and that the Heat have “become more comfortable with the idea” of Bosh playing this year while taking blood thinners, a compromise they resisted in the second half of last season.
Jackson further reports that if the Heat ultimately do not clear Bosh—be it for reasons of safety or salary cap—he plans to “pursue the issue with the NBA Players Association.” This would only be a formalization of a war Bosh has been waging for months, and he still has more weapons in his artillery. The section of the documentary released today was, after all, only part one.