Bosh: Raptors not getting their due, outside of Canada

Chris Bosh last played in the NBA in 2016.

Chris Bosh became recognized as an NBA star as a member of The Big 3 along with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade as a member of the Miami Heat.

But he got his start, and first became a standout in the league, as a Toronto Raptor.

Appearing as a guest on Bill Simmons’ podcast this week, Bosh expressed his frustrations with what he believes is a lack of recognition and respect for the Raptors outside of Canada.

Toronto (48-17) holds a 2.5-game lead in the Eastern Conference over second-place Boston (46-20), the third-best record in the league behind only Houston (51-14) and Golden State (51-15) and ended the Rockets’ 17-game winning streak with a 108-105 statement win Friday night at Air Canada Centre.

“That’s what’s messed up about playing in Toronto … they’re in first place in the East,” Bosh told Simmons as part of their two-hour conversation. “They’re three and a half games behind the best record in the NBA. Nobody’s even talking about it. C’mon! In this day and age where everybody watches their screens everywhere, nobody’s talking about the Raptors.”

Bosh used the stellar play of Raptors guard DeMar DeRozan as an example to back up his take. Bosh and DeRozan were teammates in Toronto during the guard’s rookie season.

“DeMar DeRozan isn’t even top-two in MVP [discussion],” Bosh said. “They’re talking about Anthony Davis before DeMar DeRozan, both deservedly so. [James] Harden’s gonna win it, we know that. But as far as two and three are concerned.

“Usually in this instance, we’re not even talking about it if you’re in first place. It’s not even a conversation. It’s Harden vs. DeRozan, and it’s up to them two to duke in out [in an MVP race]. Nobody’s talking about DeMar, and he’s playing amazing basketball.”

Bosh came by his success in the league honestly. During his first three seasons in Toronto, the Raptors won only 93 games combined. He succeeded Vince Carter as the face of the Toronto franchise when Carter was traded to New Jersey in Bosh’s second season and led the Raptors to their first division crown in 2007.

The Bosh-led Raptors earned back-to-back playoff berths and he made the All-NBA team in 2007. He joined James in signing with the Heat in the summer of 2010, then proceeded to win a pair of championships in four straight trips to The Finals.

He believes the current Raptors have what it takes to win the Eastern Conference, dethroning three-time conference kingpin Cleveland.

“I think they can make The Finals,” he said. “They have the pieces, and they have the confidence and they’ve got that teammwork, and they’ve got the spirit of the city… if you have to go in there and win a game, good luck.”