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Ulmer: Public Enemy Number One

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Mike Ulmer - Raptors.com
February 16, 2011

The Devil wore black with the word ‘Heat’ on the front and a new number on the back.

It has come to this. Chris Bosh as Toronto’s number 1 villain.

Bosh scored 25 points in his return to Air Canada Centre as the Heat outgunned the Raptors 103-95, Wednesday. His new team rose to 41-15. Reverse those numbers and you have the record of his old club.

Bosh was booed enthusiastically in his introduction. He was booed whenever he touched the ball. The fans chanted ‘overrated and RuPaul.’ He didn’t seem to mind.

“We’ve been in hostile situations, it helps us out,” Bosh said of life as a member of the Heat. “We use it for motivation. We say those boos are our cheers.”

In what world do you live in which boos are cheers? The world of the Miami Heat, of course.

The antihero sees bad where the rest see good. Up is down. Conventions are for other guys.

It’s a world where LeBron James says “they (fans) believe you should live your life and your career through them.” It is of course, the exact opposite. Fans want to live through their idols until they are rejected or repulsed.

Here is a basic human tenet. People love good people. They are interested in bad people. They have no time at all for people who fluctuate in between.

And this is where you find villain Number 1.

Bosh has never been worse than mischievous, but the boos that cascaded on him through last night’s game weren’t so much about him. It was about the 20,000 at Air Canada Centre and the several hundred thousand more who would have killed to be there.

Toronto is known as one of the world’s most welcoming cities. But there is a back story to that.

“It seems that we’re a city that likes to dislike the people who turned their back on the city,” said Raptors coach Jay Triano. “Maybe booing Vince is old and they need a new target.”

Damon Stoudamire, Tracy McGrady and Vince Carter and have little in common with Chris Bosh, who signed an extension to stay here in 2006. Bosh wasn’t so foolish as to tie his future to the owner as Stoudamire did. Hubris did not drag him out of town as it did McGrady. He never threatened to stop dunking, never tanked to gain a trade. That act belonged to Carter.

At worst, all Chris Bosh did was become the Raptors’ all-time leading scorer while keeping his future intentions to himself. Throw in an intemperate remark about not being able to find the Raptors on national television, some stupid tweets and a habit of staying quiet in the dressing room.

Bosh was a great player who teammates now say sat stone-faced in the dressing room. He was likable but uncharismatic, earnest but often uninspiring, talented yet unable to lift his team past mediocrity. He demanded that teammates defer to him as the dominant player but took a job as the third banana in Miami.

The ambiguity that has always shrouded Bosh never ebbed, Wednesday. When asked about the sincerity of blowing kisses and waving after the final whistle, Bosh said: “I miss them and I love them so much.”

Was he being sarcastic?

“It’s sarcastic to all the naysayers and real to all the good supporters,” he said.

Not good. Not bad. Agonizingly in between.

There are some worthy Raptors right now. Andrea Bargnani scored a game-high 38 points and DeMar DeRozan added 24.

In the end, though, the game went as long as the Heat wanted it to. Miami shot 49 per cent and limited the Raptors to 41 cents on the dollar. Dwyane Wade led the Heat with 28 and LeBron James added 23. That’s 76 out of 103 points.

Chris Bosh isn’t Public Enemy Number 1, not really. Hamlet is a better fit. Weary, someone once wrote, is the head that wears the crown.