Growing up, a perfect day was eating pancakes, heading out into the hundred-degree heat of Hutchins, Texas, and shooting hoops in the park.
Sometimes, the baskets I played on didn’t have nets. Usually, the backboards didn’t have squares. For a while, I even practiced on a rim in a trash can.
But, man, did I love every second of it.
Since receiving the call, I haven’t been thinking about the points I scored or the rebounds I grabbed or even the championships I won in the NBA. I’ve been thinking about the person I was before all of that—and the people who made it possible for me to go from being that boy in Hutchins, Texas, shooting on a rim in a trash can to an inductee of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
People like my grandfather, Daddy Jack Bosh, who grew up in the Jim Crow South, but told his first-born grandson he could do big things—as long as he worked hard enough. People like my father, who introduced me to a game that would become my life—driving me to school early in the morning and picking me up from practice late at night. People like my wife Adrienne and my five kids—who are my light and inspire me to be better every day.
I’m thinking about what it felt like to squeeze into “Coach’s Van,” as we went from town to town, hotel to hotel, weekend after weekend, talking, laughing, growing with each other—not only as players but as people.
I’m reflecting on the legends, the Hall of Famers, whose posters were pinned up on my wall—who stood as proof that there were no limits to what a kid who looked like me, from a neighborhood like mine, could accomplish.
I’m remembering the magical feeling of having access to a gym for the first time—when a keycard felt like a golden ticket and putting up shots at night didn’t feel like an obligation but like an opportunity.
I’m appreciating everyone whose sneakers I’ve heard squeak on hardwood, the teammates who lifted me up and the opponents who motivated me to reach even higher.
For decades, basketball was my life. I dreamed about it. I cried about it. There were years when I was mad at it. But, today, I’m grateful for it—and for you.
Without fans, the game invented in Springfield, Massachusetts would never have reached that kid who loved pancakes in Hutchins, Texas. But because of all of you—because of every game you’ve watched and jersey you’ve worn—I ended up with a career, with a life, that boy shooting buckets into a trash can couldn’t have even imagined.
If you dig The Last Chip, I have a feeling you might like reading my book, Letters To A Young Athlete. It’s out on June 1st—and you can pre-order it today. I’ve poured my all into this thing and can’t wait for you to read it.