Ex-NBA Star Bosh Joins Esports Franchise

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Naples Daily News (Florida)


Chris Bosh admits his premature transition from NBA player to non-playing days was a struggle.

"It's extremely different because as athletes, especially in the NBA, you work your whole life and sacrifice to get this point professionally," Bosh told USA TODAY Sports. "If and when that's in jeopardy, it makes things very hard. I had to answer a lot of questions. I had to take time. It was a very rough time. What else do I like? I didn't even know what else I liked."

Bosh is a person with varied interests: travel, cooking, coding/technology, guitar, family.

Add a new one to the list: esports.

Bosh has joined esports franchise Gen.G Esports as a player management advisor.

Bosh plans to bring his experience in sports to esports: leadership, communication, teamwork, championship ideals, dealing with pressure and off-the-court issues.

"It's a dream for me to be able to work with these guys," Bosh said. "The way I look at it, competing at a high level, whether that's business, art or film, athletics, anything you do, there's a certain way to go about it. Being in the NBA, being successful, being able to win championships at the highest level in the world, there's certain core values that you have, certain things you have to follow."

Gen.G competes in several games, including League of Legends, Heroes of the Storm and the Los Angeles-based Overwatch League.

How did this come about? Bosh developed a relationship with Gen.G co-founder and vice chairman Phillip Hyun. "We talked a lot and were just hanging, and he said, 'Why don't you come see what it is we're doing with Gen.G?' " Bosh said. "I took my kids to watch, and it was pretty cool. Phillip asked if I wanted to become involved in some sort of way, and it just came together."

Bosh's NBA career came to a halt after his second blood clot diagnosis in 2016. The first blood clot, which traveled to his lung, was discovered in 2015. He hasn't played a game since just before the All-Star break in 2016. He won two championships with the Heat, was named to 11 All-Star teams and is an Olympic gold medalist.

While he told USA TODAY Sports that he is not retired and interested in playing again, it is difficult to envision a team doctor clearing him for an NBA return.

In the meantime, Bosh, who is realistic about his NBA prospects, looks for fulfillment elsewhere.

"I wanted to find something I could enjoy doing and find passion," Bosh said. "It's been very rewarding. I didn't expect this opportunity or relationship to come up. I like technology and games."

Bosh is not a stranger to gaming. He used to play a lot, as recently as three years ago. He played Call of Duty and before that, Halo.

"Chris is good for us both on a surface level and on a deeper level," Gen.G chief growth officer Arnold Hur said. "On the surface level, he's a champion. He knows what it's like to put people together and work on a team and head in the same direction. That's something that we thought was such an invaluable experience - to do it at the highest level of professional sports. We thought getting that kind of experience was important for us. It's new for us. It's new for esports.

"On a deeper level, we felt as we got to know Chris better, he was basically always one or two steps ahead of where everybody else was. He understood how important gaming was. He understood why esports had so much potential. We didn't need to sell him on anything. He already knew where everything was going. ... It felt like he already got it. He was the one anticipating problems we might have."

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October 11, 2018


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